By Melissa Carter President of Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood
Twenty years ago, in 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Beijing, governments made a promise to women and solidified the concept that so-called “women’s rights” are about much more than women.
The conference marked a truly significant and vital turning point for gender equality, as 189 governments each signed a progressive blueprint for advancing women’s rights — and justice for all. Since then, we’ve seen a number of global milestones marking progress in achieving justice for all. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf became the first female president of an African country. The United Nations now formally recognizes the human rights of LGBTI people. A safe abortion protocol was enacted for the first time ever in Peru. The Green Belt Movement in Kenya has now empowered thousands of women to conserve the environment. The list goes on and on.
Today, the fight for women’s rights looks nothing like it did when our mothers and grandmothers were fighting it. Feminists from Malala Yousafzai to Janet Mock, from Emma Watson to Planned Parenthood Youth Peer Providers across Africa and Latin America, are revolutionizing the fight for women’s rights. And all of them have one thing in common: They are all 30 years old or younger.
At the organization Planned Parenthood, young activists just like us believe in a world where health has no borders. From New York City to Guatemala and beyond, our young health educators, activists and providers are committed to working with many different communities to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, class, nationality or gender, has access to the healthcare they need. They provide information, clinic referrals and even condoms to thousands of people. They meet with government representatives and organize campaigns to make sure that leaders are accountable so that no one is left behind, when it comes to access to sexual and reproductive health.
This International Women’s Day, we stand strong with our fierce allies in shaping the most diverse movement for women’s rights yet. We are now doubling down on our commitment to guarantee that our government does its part to completely fulfill its 20-year-old promise to women.
Want to join us? Spread the news about where things stand for global women’s rights. Tell your senator to support the Global Democracy Promotion Act, which would benefit women and families around the world by ending the global gag rule and is expected to be reintroduced in early March in honor of International Women’s Day.