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Safe Chair? Campaign for a good gynecological care in Poland

On 14th April, Ponton Group of Sex Educators organized a press conference in order to present results of the latest survey concerning reproductive health services (the quality of gynecological care) conducted during the campaign “Safe Chair? Campaign for a good gynecological care”. Ponton conducted an online survey to discover the experience and identify expectations of all girls and women: those who regularly have gynecological consultations, those who have had it once and those who haven't had any yet. 2501 girls and women filled the survey, including LBTQ persons and persons with disabilities.

The results are worrisome as they prove that women, especially young girls, and LBTQ persons experience unprofessional and harmful treatment from the gynecologists.

1/4 of girls and women treat gynecological visit as ‘necessary evil’ and 16% of respondents avoid visits. The reason for this is embarrassment and lack of awareness about caring for one’s sexual and reproductive health. Comprehensive sexuality education still hasn’t been introduced in Polish schools and sexuality (even in its health aspect) remains a taboo. These factors combined with traumatic experiences during gynecological visits result in the negligence of prophylaxis.

Girls and women hear judgmental statements and opinions from gynecologists, which express lack of empathy, professional approach, gender stereotypes, homophobia and transphobia. Doctors  comment on decisions concerning patients’ private lives and instead of a diagnosis, they provide judgments based on their personal values. Furthermore, women (especially young girls) are refused contraception and access to diagnostic tests due to gynecologists’ personal views, based on prejudices.

What is also alarming, 1/3 girls and women haven’t been to the visit yet because of the deeply rooted fear of shame. They are scared of negative comments from the doctor and treat the visit as intrusion of the intimacy. If they had received the proper information and support earlier, these women wouldn’t have avoided the visits and instead, they would have treated the gynecological visit as a means of caring for their reproductive and sexual health. In order to improve this situation, decision-makers need to introduce a non-biased, science-based comprehensive sexuality education to schools, which would raise knowledge and awareness of sexual and reproductive health. The system of gynecologists’ education needs to be improved as the needs of young patients, LBTQ patients and patients with disabilities must be accommodated in the gynecologists’ training programmes.

Young People Speak up for their Sexual and Reproductive Rights at 47th CPD

Over 100 young people from across the globe came together during the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) to let governments know that their sexual and reproductive rights are non-negotiable.

The weeklong Commission, which ended early Saturday morning, was convened at the UN headquarters in New York to assess 20 years of progress since the groundbreaking agreements made at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994. At Cairo, 179 governments agreed that women’s health and rights—specifically sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights—must be central to global development policies, programs, and funding, and are the key to reducing the social and economic inequalities that exist worldwide.

Throughout the week, young people representing civil society from all regions and diversities spoke up on sexual and reproductive rights issues ranging from comprehensive sexuality education to youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services; access to safe and legal abortion; and recognition of the human rights of all people, including young people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.

There was a strong presence online and offline, with young people participating in and leading side events on youth participation, advancing youth sexual and reproductive health, and acknowledging young people’s sexual and reproductive rights in the post-2015 development framework as well as presenting eight oral statements to the Commission.

“20 years beyond Cairo, it’s unacceptable for young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights to be deemed ‘too controversial.’ It is deeply disappointing to hear calls from governments for a procedural resolution instead of one that fully elaborates on key issues relevant to our lives,” said Nur Hidayati Handayani representing the Youth Caucus during an oral statement presented on the opening day of the CPD.

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New publication – ASTRA Youth Brief on Youth SRHR

ASTRA Youth in cooperation with ARROW developed a brief on adolescent and young people’s SRHR in Central and Eastern Europe. It covers the most burning issues of young people and gives a glimpse into the specifics of the region.

Read it here.

ASTRA Youth at the 47th CPD

47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) in New York has just begun. This event is one of the final steps in the ICPD review process before the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on ICPD beyond 2014 in September this year. From the 7-11 April the international community (Member States delegations, experts, civil society) will engage in discussions leading to the negotiated outcome.

ASTRA Youth will be represented by Natalia Broniarczyk from Ponton (Poland) and Daniel Kalajdjieski from HERA (Macedonia). ASTRA will be represented by Milena Kadieva from Gender Alternatives (Bulgaria), Karolina Wieckiewicz from Federation for Women and Family Planning (Poland) and Marta Szostak, ASTRA Coordinator (Poland).

ASTRA and ASTRA Youth prepared a joint statement for this event, which can be accessed here.

ASTRA and ASTRA Youth representatives will participate in various preparatory and strategizing meetings to ensure that civil society speaks with united, strong and progressive voice. ASTRA Youth has also been involved in preparation of the pre-CPD Youth Caucus.

In order to make sure you know what’s going on, please follow ASTRA Youth on Twitter (@ASTRAYouth) and Facebook.

Offical website of 47th CPD

Live stream of the session

Civil society survey on youth priorities

Looking towards the post-2015 agenda, ARROW and Youth Coalition are teaming up to conduct a survey on youth priorities in the Global South. It will be later used to identify  a comprehensive monitoring framework for young people that supports holding governments accountable for their commitments. Input from all regions is needs in order to present a representative, united voice.

To complete an online survey follow the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/youthpost2015

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