The original version of this article, by John Donnelly, appeared on
At a forum at the Rubin Art Museum earlier this week, a group of global leaders, including two top U.S. officials, talked about how reproductive health issues for women were wrongly cast as only a women’s issue.
Instead, they said reproductive health was intimately connected to the world’s population boom, climate change, water and sanitation crises, economic downturns, educational rates, and development overall. And greater reproductive health rights would trigger a brighter future for the 600 million young women in the developing world, including the 10 million girls who are married before they reach the age 18, said the panelists, members of the Global Leaders Council for Reproductive Health of Aspen Global Health and Development.
And yet, reproductive health and family planning is generally not a focus on the world stage. In fact, the topic is often avoided.
“If you can help young women feel empowered, where they themselves want to delay pregnancy, they can become the actors in their own lives,” Maria Otero, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs said at the Rubin Museum of Art. “What this Council allows us to do is think about the issue of reproductive health, one that is interconnected to all other issues” related to development.
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Image Credit: “Age at 1st marriage (women),” courtesy of ChartsBin; data courtesy of Gapminder.