- - -
woman wearing a mask in India
news item

| 27 April 2021

Need urgent vaccine roll-out with mass education campaigns in India

Our teams and families, based in India, at the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s South Asia Regional Office have been coping with the new wave of COVID-19. We, like millions of people in India, are trying to comfort each other by providing support through the resources available to us during these difficult times. No country has been spared during this pandemic, but it has highlighted major health inequalities and uncovered fragile healthcare systems, with those in the developing countries facing bigger health inequality gaps.  We hope to see an effective rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in India and other countries in South Asia like Pakistan and Bangladesh where the situation is alarming. Mere availability will not be enough. There is a pressing need for vaccination education programes and campaigns to educate citizens over infection control. International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta said: “In these trying times, we stand in solidarity with our team based in India and friends working with the Member Association Family Planning Association of India. We offer our condolences to the thousands of families who have lost their loved ones during this crisis in India. At this moment, the health system in India is stretched, thousands of healthcare workers are risking their lives to provide treatment. We are keen to support and provide the much-needed vaccine education. Action is also required to break the chain of transmission, address the shortage of vaccine in the country and roll-out mass campaigns to encourage citizens to take the vaccine dose." IPPF will also continue to work with our Member Association Family Planning Association of India to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in need.  We are committed to supporting all health workers and supports the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Equity Declaration, which encourages countries to accelerate the equitable rollout of vaccines in every country, starting with health workers and those at highest risk for COVID-19. 

woman wearing a mask in India
news_item

| 27 April 2021

Need urgent vaccine roll-out with mass education campaigns in India

Our teams and families, based in India, at the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s South Asia Regional Office have been coping with the new wave of COVID-19. We, like millions of people in India, are trying to comfort each other by providing support through the resources available to us during these difficult times. No country has been spared during this pandemic, but it has highlighted major health inequalities and uncovered fragile healthcare systems, with those in the developing countries facing bigger health inequality gaps.  We hope to see an effective rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in India and other countries in South Asia like Pakistan and Bangladesh where the situation is alarming. Mere availability will not be enough. There is a pressing need for vaccination education programes and campaigns to educate citizens over infection control. International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta said: “In these trying times, we stand in solidarity with our team based in India and friends working with the Member Association Family Planning Association of India. We offer our condolences to the thousands of families who have lost their loved ones during this crisis in India. At this moment, the health system in India is stretched, thousands of healthcare workers are risking their lives to provide treatment. We are keen to support and provide the much-needed vaccine education. Action is also required to break the chain of transmission, address the shortage of vaccine in the country and roll-out mass campaigns to encourage citizens to take the vaccine dose." IPPF will also continue to work with our Member Association Family Planning Association of India to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in need.  We are committed to supporting all health workers and supports the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Equity Declaration, which encourages countries to accelerate the equitable rollout of vaccines in every country, starting with health workers and those at highest risk for COVID-19. 

India abortion rights
news item

| 18 March 2021

India becomes a leading advocate for abortion rights in South Asia region

India becomes a leading advocate for abortion rights in South Asia region The passage of Medical Abortion of Termination (Amendment) Bill 2020 in the upper house of Indian parliament is a progressive decision and victory for women’s rights. We congratulate the Indian government and the civil society. India has now become the only country in South Asia region to provide abortion beyond 20 weeks. This will have an impact beyond India’s borders-- for the region-wide movement on legal, accessible and safe abortion. The change in Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, allows to extend the upper limit for medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks, from the present stipulation of 20 weeks, for certain categories of women. These categories will include 'vulnerable women', rape survivors, victims of incest, pregnancies with foetal abnormalities and minors. While this win inspires us and other sexual and reproductive rights organizations, we hope action is taken to ensure all inequalities in access to abortion are addressed--- not only the polices but services are also designed to meet the needs of all.  Dr Kalpana Apte, Secretary General of Family Planning Association of India (IPPF Member Association in India), said: "The amendments to the MTP Act were much awaited and they would advance the reproductive healthcare agenda for women. The expanded access to safe abortions up to 24 weeks is great enabler helping women to exercise their reproductive rights. However, the full potential of these amendments can only become a reality if followed by appropriate systems strengthening. FPA India is committed to work towards translating these amendments as reality through grassroots level collective action."    ENDS  For media queries please contact Regional Communications Manager Himanshi Matta; [email protected]  

India abortion rights
news_item

| 18 March 2021

India becomes a leading advocate for abortion rights in South Asia region

India becomes a leading advocate for abortion rights in South Asia region The passage of Medical Abortion of Termination (Amendment) Bill 2020 in the upper house of Indian parliament is a progressive decision and victory for women’s rights. We congratulate the Indian government and the civil society. India has now become the only country in South Asia region to provide abortion beyond 20 weeks. This will have an impact beyond India’s borders-- for the region-wide movement on legal, accessible and safe abortion. The change in Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, allows to extend the upper limit for medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks, from the present stipulation of 20 weeks, for certain categories of women. These categories will include 'vulnerable women', rape survivors, victims of incest, pregnancies with foetal abnormalities and minors. While this win inspires us and other sexual and reproductive rights organizations, we hope action is taken to ensure all inequalities in access to abortion are addressed--- not only the polices but services are also designed to meet the needs of all.  Dr Kalpana Apte, Secretary General of Family Planning Association of India (IPPF Member Association in India), said: "The amendments to the MTP Act were much awaited and they would advance the reproductive healthcare agenda for women. The expanded access to safe abortions up to 24 weeks is great enabler helping women to exercise their reproductive rights. However, the full potential of these amendments can only become a reality if followed by appropriate systems strengthening. FPA India is committed to work towards translating these amendments as reality through grassroots level collective action."    ENDS  For media queries please contact Regional Communications Manager Himanshi Matta; [email protected]  

ranking
news item

| 15 March 2021

IPPF recognized by the 2021 Global Health 50/50 Report for its commitment to gender equality

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has been recognized as one of the top-performing global health organizations for its commitment to putting gender equality into practice by the 2021 Global Health 50/50 Report (GH5050).  The report, “Gender equality: Flying blind in a time of crisis,” reviews the gender-related policies and practices of global organizations active in global health. It has placed IPPF in the top 5% of over 200 global health organizations reviewed. The organizations were assessed on four key areas: commitment to gender equality, gender equality and diversity policies at work, gender and geography of gender health leadership and gender responsive of health policy and programes. IPPF's Board Member & Transgender Activist Abhina Aher said;  "I am thrilled to see the GH5050 report place IPPF among the top 5% of the organizations across 201 organizations --in the global health space-- committed to gender equality and social justice. As a leading SRHR organization, IPPF is committed to creating a dynamic, futuristic, community centric and inclusive response. It is important to address the structural barriers especially for transwomen to create a more enabling environment for sustained access to health services." IPPF’s Global Lead for Gender & Inclusion Seri Wendoh said: “We are delighted that IPPF has been recognized for its progress and commitment to gender equality and inclusion by Global 50/50 2021. Ensuring IPPF is a progressive, inclusive and safe place for women and gender non-conforming people to work is a testament to the hard work and determination of individuals across IPPF. As a global healthcare organization with a focus on women and girls, it is only right and decent that we continue to look inwardly and improve at every step - as the report states: gender inequality is not inevitable - it’s something that we as people can help dismantle.” Manuelle Hurwitz, IPPF Director of Institutional Delivery said:  “To be classed as a very high scorer in the Global 50/50 2021 report  is an honour and is testament to the commitment of IPPF to gender equality and inclusion. I am proud of the work we are doing to invest and amplify women leaders at IPPF as we establish our Women in Leadership Initiative and of the ground-breaking work done by IPPF Member Associations to ensure gender equality, inclusion and diversity is an integral part of their advocacy, programmes and management.” IPPF’s Director-General Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “I’m pleased to see that IPPF is a high scorer in the 2021 Global Health 50/50 report. But the report shows there is much more work to be done to dismantle the structural legacy of gender inequality, in order to truly advance gender-equality, diversity and inclusion in global health. We know that the majority of the workforce in our organizations are women, we know they are majority of our service users, and most importantly we know we must promote women at the top with determination because the gap everywhere is so very large. And in order to achieve parity one day, global health organizations need to act with urgency to make sure they have more women than men in positions of leadership. IPPF must and will lead by example, we will not shy away from our responsibility and commitment to shaping a future that has gender equality and female empowerment at the centre.” Kent Buse and Sarah Hawkes, Co-Directors, Global Health 50/50 said:  “On behalf of Global Health 50/50, we would like to congratulate IPPF for their strong performance in the 2021 Gender and Health Index. By taking deliberate and transparent actions IPPF keeps the pressure on themselves and others in the sector to continue pushing for change, and provides much needed hope that we can achieve gender equality in our quest for health, dignity and social justice for all.’  IPPF is committed to promoting feminist leadership at all levels of the organization. Our gender equality policy recognizes that progress to this end requires transformative complementary actions to promote women’s rights and empowerment, including addressing gender gaps, unequal policies and discrimination that have historically disadvantaged women and girls.  

ranking
news_item

| 15 March 2021

IPPF recognized by the 2021 Global Health 50/50 Report for its commitment to gender equality

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has been recognized as one of the top-performing global health organizations for its commitment to putting gender equality into practice by the 2021 Global Health 50/50 Report (GH5050).  The report, “Gender equality: Flying blind in a time of crisis,” reviews the gender-related policies and practices of global organizations active in global health. It has placed IPPF in the top 5% of over 200 global health organizations reviewed. The organizations were assessed on four key areas: commitment to gender equality, gender equality and diversity policies at work, gender and geography of gender health leadership and gender responsive of health policy and programes. IPPF's Board Member & Transgender Activist Abhina Aher said;  "I am thrilled to see the GH5050 report place IPPF among the top 5% of the organizations across 201 organizations --in the global health space-- committed to gender equality and social justice. As a leading SRHR organization, IPPF is committed to creating a dynamic, futuristic, community centric and inclusive response. It is important to address the structural barriers especially for transwomen to create a more enabling environment for sustained access to health services." IPPF’s Global Lead for Gender & Inclusion Seri Wendoh said: “We are delighted that IPPF has been recognized for its progress and commitment to gender equality and inclusion by Global 50/50 2021. Ensuring IPPF is a progressive, inclusive and safe place for women and gender non-conforming people to work is a testament to the hard work and determination of individuals across IPPF. As a global healthcare organization with a focus on women and girls, it is only right and decent that we continue to look inwardly and improve at every step - as the report states: gender inequality is not inevitable - it’s something that we as people can help dismantle.” Manuelle Hurwitz, IPPF Director of Institutional Delivery said:  “To be classed as a very high scorer in the Global 50/50 2021 report  is an honour and is testament to the commitment of IPPF to gender equality and inclusion. I am proud of the work we are doing to invest and amplify women leaders at IPPF as we establish our Women in Leadership Initiative and of the ground-breaking work done by IPPF Member Associations to ensure gender equality, inclusion and diversity is an integral part of their advocacy, programmes and management.” IPPF’s Director-General Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “I’m pleased to see that IPPF is a high scorer in the 2021 Global Health 50/50 report. But the report shows there is much more work to be done to dismantle the structural legacy of gender inequality, in order to truly advance gender-equality, diversity and inclusion in global health. We know that the majority of the workforce in our organizations are women, we know they are majority of our service users, and most importantly we know we must promote women at the top with determination because the gap everywhere is so very large. And in order to achieve parity one day, global health organizations need to act with urgency to make sure they have more women than men in positions of leadership. IPPF must and will lead by example, we will not shy away from our responsibility and commitment to shaping a future that has gender equality and female empowerment at the centre.” Kent Buse and Sarah Hawkes, Co-Directors, Global Health 50/50 said:  “On behalf of Global Health 50/50, we would like to congratulate IPPF for their strong performance in the 2021 Gender and Health Index. By taking deliberate and transparent actions IPPF keeps the pressure on themselves and others in the sector to continue pushing for change, and provides much needed hope that we can achieve gender equality in our quest for health, dignity and social justice for all.’  IPPF is committed to promoting feminist leadership at all levels of the organization. Our gender equality policy recognizes that progress to this end requires transformative complementary actions to promote women’s rights and empowerment, including addressing gender gaps, unequal policies and discrimination that have historically disadvantaged women and girls.  

flag nepal
news item

| 11 February 2021

Proposed restrictions on foreign travel of Nepali women discriminatory

A proposal by the Nepal Government requiring consent from a guardian and local government for women under the age of 40 to travel abroad is an oppressive sexist diktat against women’s autonomy. IPPF Board Member Surakshya Giri said; “This rule penalizes women and overlooks the flaws in laws and recruitment systems which make women and girls vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of violence. Women are contributors to the economy of the country, and they must be treated as equal citizens. Human rights activists have for years highlighted exploitation of migrant workers and made valuable  recommendations. These restrictions are against Nepal’s commitments under the convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW).” According to national news reports, the proposed rule will be for “women under 40 traveling for the first time to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries on their own”. They will be required to obtain permission from family members and the local ward.  IPPF South Asia Regional Office Director Sonal Mehta said; “The Government of Nepal has clarified that this proposed rule is an attempt to curb trafficking of young girls and women. On the contrary, this rule inflicts violence by restricting movement and encouraging control over women. It reinforces regressive gender norms of approval and guardianship. I wish I was in Nepal to join the outrage of women and girls there, and we stand in solidarity with them.” End  For media queries, please contact Regional Manager Communications Himanshi Matta; [email protected]   

flag nepal
news_item

| 11 February 2021

Proposed restrictions on foreign travel of Nepali women discriminatory

A proposal by the Nepal Government requiring consent from a guardian and local government for women under the age of 40 to travel abroad is an oppressive sexist diktat against women’s autonomy. IPPF Board Member Surakshya Giri said; “This rule penalizes women and overlooks the flaws in laws and recruitment systems which make women and girls vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of violence. Women are contributors to the economy of the country, and they must be treated as equal citizens. Human rights activists have for years highlighted exploitation of migrant workers and made valuable  recommendations. These restrictions are against Nepal’s commitments under the convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW).” According to national news reports, the proposed rule will be for “women under 40 traveling for the first time to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries on their own”. They will be required to obtain permission from family members and the local ward.  IPPF South Asia Regional Office Director Sonal Mehta said; “The Government of Nepal has clarified that this proposed rule is an attempt to curb trafficking of young girls and women. On the contrary, this rule inflicts violence by restricting movement and encouraging control over women. It reinforces regressive gender norms of approval and guardianship. I wish I was in Nepal to join the outrage of women and girls there, and we stand in solidarity with them.” End  For media queries, please contact Regional Manager Communications Himanshi Matta; [email protected]   

statement graphic
news item

| 29 January 2021

IPPF welcomes President Biden’s decision to repeal the Global Gag Rule

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the news of President Biden’s decision to keep his promise and repeal the harmful Global Gag Rule (GGR) - also known as the Mexico City Policy.    Since its expanded reintroduction in 2017 by the previous administration, the Global Gag Rule has contributed to an increase in unintended and high-risk pregnancies, unsafe abortions – culminating in unnecessary maternal deaths. For IPPF, 53 healthcare projects in 32 countries were impacted by GGR, with some Member Associations losing up to 60% of their funding.   IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo said:    “I welcome the decision by President Biden to repeal the Global Gag Rule.    “The expanded reintroduction of the gag was callously designed to deny women the right to decide what happens to their body. Whilst we know this policy is intended as a tool to attack abortion care by the anti-choice movement, not only has it led to reproductive coercion, it has cut deeper into healthcare provision: from HIV prevention programs to maternal health to contraceptive access – no one was spared the fallout of this policy.   “What lies ahead of us is years of work to undo the harm caused by Global Gag Rule, and to build back a better and stronger relationship with the U.S. – one where our work is not under threat from future anti-sexual and reproductive health administrations. To protect the rights of future generations of women and girls, we ask that the Biden-Harris administration take the necessary steps to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. Without a permanent repeal, the global gag remains a constant threat to women, girls, youth and marginalized communities. Reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and the human right to decide what happens to your body cannot be at the mercy of a pen stroke.   “IPPF looks on with hope and welcomes the opportunity to work closely with the Biden-Harris administration to protect and advance sexual and reproductive healthcare for all.”   And President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Alexis McGill Johnson said:  “Over the past four years, the United States didn’t just fail to support global reproductive health care access — it actively blocked it. Today, we applaud the beginning of a new chapter, as the Biden-Harris administration puts an end to the devastating global gag rule, which has prevented millions of people around the world from receiving essential health care. We look forward to working alongside the administration and Congress to pass the Global HER Act, to permanently protect access to sexual and reproductive health care across the globe from changes in White House political control. It is long past time that the United States proudly declares to the world that reproductive rights are human rights.”     IPPF would like to thank the international community who stepped in and stepped up to help fill the funding gap that was left by the Global Gag Rule. Together, we will continue to fight and deliver sexual and reproductive health and rights. -ENDS- For media inquiries please contact Regional Manager Communications, Himanshi Matta; [email protected] or [email protected] - (+44) 2079398227   

statement graphic
news_item

| 29 January 2021

IPPF welcomes President Biden’s decision to repeal the Global Gag Rule

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the news of President Biden’s decision to keep his promise and repeal the harmful Global Gag Rule (GGR) - also known as the Mexico City Policy.    Since its expanded reintroduction in 2017 by the previous administration, the Global Gag Rule has contributed to an increase in unintended and high-risk pregnancies, unsafe abortions – culminating in unnecessary maternal deaths. For IPPF, 53 healthcare projects in 32 countries were impacted by GGR, with some Member Associations losing up to 60% of their funding.   IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo said:    “I welcome the decision by President Biden to repeal the Global Gag Rule.    “The expanded reintroduction of the gag was callously designed to deny women the right to decide what happens to their body. Whilst we know this policy is intended as a tool to attack abortion care by the anti-choice movement, not only has it led to reproductive coercion, it has cut deeper into healthcare provision: from HIV prevention programs to maternal health to contraceptive access – no one was spared the fallout of this policy.   “What lies ahead of us is years of work to undo the harm caused by Global Gag Rule, and to build back a better and stronger relationship with the U.S. – one where our work is not under threat from future anti-sexual and reproductive health administrations. To protect the rights of future generations of women and girls, we ask that the Biden-Harris administration take the necessary steps to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. Without a permanent repeal, the global gag remains a constant threat to women, girls, youth and marginalized communities. Reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and the human right to decide what happens to your body cannot be at the mercy of a pen stroke.   “IPPF looks on with hope and welcomes the opportunity to work closely with the Biden-Harris administration to protect and advance sexual and reproductive healthcare for all.”   And President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Alexis McGill Johnson said:  “Over the past four years, the United States didn’t just fail to support global reproductive health care access — it actively blocked it. Today, we applaud the beginning of a new chapter, as the Biden-Harris administration puts an end to the devastating global gag rule, which has prevented millions of people around the world from receiving essential health care. We look forward to working alongside the administration and Congress to pass the Global HER Act, to permanently protect access to sexual and reproductive health care across the globe from changes in White House political control. It is long past time that the United States proudly declares to the world that reproductive rights are human rights.”     IPPF would like to thank the international community who stepped in and stepped up to help fill the funding gap that was left by the Global Gag Rule. Together, we will continue to fight and deliver sexual and reproductive health and rights. -ENDS- For media inquiries please contact Regional Manager Communications, Himanshi Matta; [email protected] or [email protected] - (+44) 2079398227   

flag india
news item

| 25 January 2021

IPPF statement on Indian court judgement that 'skin-to-skin contact' does not amount to the offence of 'sexual assault'

The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court in India has observed in a particular case that groping a child’s breast without 'skin-to-skin contact' does not amount to the offence of 'sexual assault' under Section 8 of the country’s child protection law - the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.  IPPF notes with grave concern that the judgment is deeply flawed in its understanding of child sexual abuse and fails to take into account the power hierarchy when an adult person abuses his/her authority over a child/minor. IPPF works with survivors of violence and fully understands the effect child sexual abuse has on the physical, mental and emotional health of the survivors. Amritananda Chakravorty, a Delhi-based lawyer said: "The definition of 'sexual assault' under POCSO is a comprehensive one that includes acts of touching breast with sexual intent, and there is no requirement of any "skin to skin" contact, as held by the Bombay High Court. Just because the punishment is stringent does not mean that the judiciary would insert elements in the offence that are not there. It is bizarre to say that sexual misconduct with a 12-year-old child would not be an offence under POCSO merely because she was clothed."   IPPF clearly states that any attempt to dilute the statutory regime of POCSO would be hugely detrimental to the child rights and a narrow interpretation of what constitutes sexual assault would harm years of work done by child right’s and women’s rights groups in the country. IPPF hopes that this egregious decision would be overturned by the higher courts by keeping the rights of the children at the centre of any discourse on child sexual abuse.    END  For media queries, please write to Regional Manager Communications Himanshi Matta; [email protected]

flag india
news_item

| 25 January 2021

IPPF statement on Indian court judgement that 'skin-to-skin contact' does not amount to the offence of 'sexual assault'

The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court in India has observed in a particular case that groping a child’s breast without 'skin-to-skin contact' does not amount to the offence of 'sexual assault' under Section 8 of the country’s child protection law - the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.  IPPF notes with grave concern that the judgment is deeply flawed in its understanding of child sexual abuse and fails to take into account the power hierarchy when an adult person abuses his/her authority over a child/minor. IPPF works with survivors of violence and fully understands the effect child sexual abuse has on the physical, mental and emotional health of the survivors. Amritananda Chakravorty, a Delhi-based lawyer said: "The definition of 'sexual assault' under POCSO is a comprehensive one that includes acts of touching breast with sexual intent, and there is no requirement of any "skin to skin" contact, as held by the Bombay High Court. Just because the punishment is stringent does not mean that the judiciary would insert elements in the offence that are not there. It is bizarre to say that sexual misconduct with a 12-year-old child would not be an offence under POCSO merely because she was clothed."   IPPF clearly states that any attempt to dilute the statutory regime of POCSO would be hugely detrimental to the child rights and a narrow interpretation of what constitutes sexual assault would harm years of work done by child right’s and women’s rights groups in the country. IPPF hopes that this egregious decision would be overturned by the higher courts by keeping the rights of the children at the centre of any discourse on child sexual abuse.    END  For media queries, please write to Regional Manager Communications Himanshi Matta; [email protected]

woman wearing a mask in India
news item

| 27 April 2021

Need urgent vaccine roll-out with mass education campaigns in India

Our teams and families, based in India, at the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s South Asia Regional Office have been coping with the new wave of COVID-19. We, like millions of people in India, are trying to comfort each other by providing support through the resources available to us during these difficult times. No country has been spared during this pandemic, but it has highlighted major health inequalities and uncovered fragile healthcare systems, with those in the developing countries facing bigger health inequality gaps.  We hope to see an effective rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in India and other countries in South Asia like Pakistan and Bangladesh where the situation is alarming. Mere availability will not be enough. There is a pressing need for vaccination education programes and campaigns to educate citizens over infection control. International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta said: “In these trying times, we stand in solidarity with our team based in India and friends working with the Member Association Family Planning Association of India. We offer our condolences to the thousands of families who have lost their loved ones during this crisis in India. At this moment, the health system in India is stretched, thousands of healthcare workers are risking their lives to provide treatment. We are keen to support and provide the much-needed vaccine education. Action is also required to break the chain of transmission, address the shortage of vaccine in the country and roll-out mass campaigns to encourage citizens to take the vaccine dose." IPPF will also continue to work with our Member Association Family Planning Association of India to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in need.  We are committed to supporting all health workers and supports the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Equity Declaration, which encourages countries to accelerate the equitable rollout of vaccines in every country, starting with health workers and those at highest risk for COVID-19. 

woman wearing a mask in India
news_item

| 27 April 2021

Need urgent vaccine roll-out with mass education campaigns in India

Our teams and families, based in India, at the International Planned Parenthood Federation’s South Asia Regional Office have been coping with the new wave of COVID-19. We, like millions of people in India, are trying to comfort each other by providing support through the resources available to us during these difficult times. No country has been spared during this pandemic, but it has highlighted major health inequalities and uncovered fragile healthcare systems, with those in the developing countries facing bigger health inequality gaps.  We hope to see an effective rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in India and other countries in South Asia like Pakistan and Bangladesh where the situation is alarming. Mere availability will not be enough. There is a pressing need for vaccination education programes and campaigns to educate citizens over infection control. International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) South Asia Regional Director Sonal Mehta said: “In these trying times, we stand in solidarity with our team based in India and friends working with the Member Association Family Planning Association of India. We offer our condolences to the thousands of families who have lost their loved ones during this crisis in India. At this moment, the health system in India is stretched, thousands of healthcare workers are risking their lives to provide treatment. We are keen to support and provide the much-needed vaccine education. Action is also required to break the chain of transmission, address the shortage of vaccine in the country and roll-out mass campaigns to encourage citizens to take the vaccine dose." IPPF will also continue to work with our Member Association Family Planning Association of India to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in need.  We are committed to supporting all health workers and supports the World Health Organization’s Vaccine Equity Declaration, which encourages countries to accelerate the equitable rollout of vaccines in every country, starting with health workers and those at highest risk for COVID-19. 

India abortion rights
news item

| 18 March 2021

India becomes a leading advocate for abortion rights in South Asia region

India becomes a leading advocate for abortion rights in South Asia region The passage of Medical Abortion of Termination (Amendment) Bill 2020 in the upper house of Indian parliament is a progressive decision and victory for women’s rights. We congratulate the Indian government and the civil society. India has now become the only country in South Asia region to provide abortion beyond 20 weeks. This will have an impact beyond India’s borders-- for the region-wide movement on legal, accessible and safe abortion. The change in Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, allows to extend the upper limit for medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks, from the present stipulation of 20 weeks, for certain categories of women. These categories will include 'vulnerable women', rape survivors, victims of incest, pregnancies with foetal abnormalities and minors. While this win inspires us and other sexual and reproductive rights organizations, we hope action is taken to ensure all inequalities in access to abortion are addressed--- not only the polices but services are also designed to meet the needs of all.  Dr Kalpana Apte, Secretary General of Family Planning Association of India (IPPF Member Association in India), said: "The amendments to the MTP Act were much awaited and they would advance the reproductive healthcare agenda for women. The expanded access to safe abortions up to 24 weeks is great enabler helping women to exercise their reproductive rights. However, the full potential of these amendments can only become a reality if followed by appropriate systems strengthening. FPA India is committed to work towards translating these amendments as reality through grassroots level collective action."    ENDS  For media queries please contact Regional Communications Manager Himanshi Matta; [email protected]  

India abortion rights
news_item

| 18 March 2021

India becomes a leading advocate for abortion rights in South Asia region

India becomes a leading advocate for abortion rights in South Asia region The passage of Medical Abortion of Termination (Amendment) Bill 2020 in the upper house of Indian parliament is a progressive decision and victory for women’s rights. We congratulate the Indian government and the civil society. India has now become the only country in South Asia region to provide abortion beyond 20 weeks. This will have an impact beyond India’s borders-- for the region-wide movement on legal, accessible and safe abortion. The change in Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, allows to extend the upper limit for medical termination of pregnancy to 24 weeks, from the present stipulation of 20 weeks, for certain categories of women. These categories will include 'vulnerable women', rape survivors, victims of incest, pregnancies with foetal abnormalities and minors. While this win inspires us and other sexual and reproductive rights organizations, we hope action is taken to ensure all inequalities in access to abortion are addressed--- not only the polices but services are also designed to meet the needs of all.  Dr Kalpana Apte, Secretary General of Family Planning Association of India (IPPF Member Association in India), said: "The amendments to the MTP Act were much awaited and they would advance the reproductive healthcare agenda for women. The expanded access to safe abortions up to 24 weeks is great enabler helping women to exercise their reproductive rights. However, the full potential of these amendments can only become a reality if followed by appropriate systems strengthening. FPA India is committed to work towards translating these amendments as reality through grassroots level collective action."    ENDS  For media queries please contact Regional Communications Manager Himanshi Matta; [email protected]  

ranking
news item

| 15 March 2021

IPPF recognized by the 2021 Global Health 50/50 Report for its commitment to gender equality

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has been recognized as one of the top-performing global health organizations for its commitment to putting gender equality into practice by the 2021 Global Health 50/50 Report (GH5050).  The report, “Gender equality: Flying blind in a time of crisis,” reviews the gender-related policies and practices of global organizations active in global health. It has placed IPPF in the top 5% of over 200 global health organizations reviewed. The organizations were assessed on four key areas: commitment to gender equality, gender equality and diversity policies at work, gender and geography of gender health leadership and gender responsive of health policy and programes. IPPF's Board Member & Transgender Activist Abhina Aher said;  "I am thrilled to see the GH5050 report place IPPF among the top 5% of the organizations across 201 organizations --in the global health space-- committed to gender equality and social justice. As a leading SRHR organization, IPPF is committed to creating a dynamic, futuristic, community centric and inclusive response. It is important to address the structural barriers especially for transwomen to create a more enabling environment for sustained access to health services." IPPF’s Global Lead for Gender & Inclusion Seri Wendoh said: “We are delighted that IPPF has been recognized for its progress and commitment to gender equality and inclusion by Global 50/50 2021. Ensuring IPPF is a progressive, inclusive and safe place for women and gender non-conforming people to work is a testament to the hard work and determination of individuals across IPPF. As a global healthcare organization with a focus on women and girls, it is only right and decent that we continue to look inwardly and improve at every step - as the report states: gender inequality is not inevitable - it’s something that we as people can help dismantle.” Manuelle Hurwitz, IPPF Director of Institutional Delivery said:  “To be classed as a very high scorer in the Global 50/50 2021 report  is an honour and is testament to the commitment of IPPF to gender equality and inclusion. I am proud of the work we are doing to invest and amplify women leaders at IPPF as we establish our Women in Leadership Initiative and of the ground-breaking work done by IPPF Member Associations to ensure gender equality, inclusion and diversity is an integral part of their advocacy, programmes and management.” IPPF’s Director-General Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “I’m pleased to see that IPPF is a high scorer in the 2021 Global Health 50/50 report. But the report shows there is much more work to be done to dismantle the structural legacy of gender inequality, in order to truly advance gender-equality, diversity and inclusion in global health. We know that the majority of the workforce in our organizations are women, we know they are majority of our service users, and most importantly we know we must promote women at the top with determination because the gap everywhere is so very large. And in order to achieve parity one day, global health organizations need to act with urgency to make sure they have more women than men in positions of leadership. IPPF must and will lead by example, we will not shy away from our responsibility and commitment to shaping a future that has gender equality and female empowerment at the centre.” Kent Buse and Sarah Hawkes, Co-Directors, Global Health 50/50 said:  “On behalf of Global Health 50/50, we would like to congratulate IPPF for their strong performance in the 2021 Gender and Health Index. By taking deliberate and transparent actions IPPF keeps the pressure on themselves and others in the sector to continue pushing for change, and provides much needed hope that we can achieve gender equality in our quest for health, dignity and social justice for all.’  IPPF is committed to promoting feminist leadership at all levels of the organization. Our gender equality policy recognizes that progress to this end requires transformative complementary actions to promote women’s rights and empowerment, including addressing gender gaps, unequal policies and discrimination that have historically disadvantaged women and girls.  

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| 15 March 2021

IPPF recognized by the 2021 Global Health 50/50 Report for its commitment to gender equality

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) has been recognized as one of the top-performing global health organizations for its commitment to putting gender equality into practice by the 2021 Global Health 50/50 Report (GH5050).  The report, “Gender equality: Flying blind in a time of crisis,” reviews the gender-related policies and practices of global organizations active in global health. It has placed IPPF in the top 5% of over 200 global health organizations reviewed. The organizations were assessed on four key areas: commitment to gender equality, gender equality and diversity policies at work, gender and geography of gender health leadership and gender responsive of health policy and programes. IPPF's Board Member & Transgender Activist Abhina Aher said;  "I am thrilled to see the GH5050 report place IPPF among the top 5% of the organizations across 201 organizations --in the global health space-- committed to gender equality and social justice. As a leading SRHR organization, IPPF is committed to creating a dynamic, futuristic, community centric and inclusive response. It is important to address the structural barriers especially for transwomen to create a more enabling environment for sustained access to health services." IPPF’s Global Lead for Gender & Inclusion Seri Wendoh said: “We are delighted that IPPF has been recognized for its progress and commitment to gender equality and inclusion by Global 50/50 2021. Ensuring IPPF is a progressive, inclusive and safe place for women and gender non-conforming people to work is a testament to the hard work and determination of individuals across IPPF. As a global healthcare organization with a focus on women and girls, it is only right and decent that we continue to look inwardly and improve at every step - as the report states: gender inequality is not inevitable - it’s something that we as people can help dismantle.” Manuelle Hurwitz, IPPF Director of Institutional Delivery said:  “To be classed as a very high scorer in the Global 50/50 2021 report  is an honour and is testament to the commitment of IPPF to gender equality and inclusion. I am proud of the work we are doing to invest and amplify women leaders at IPPF as we establish our Women in Leadership Initiative and of the ground-breaking work done by IPPF Member Associations to ensure gender equality, inclusion and diversity is an integral part of their advocacy, programmes and management.” IPPF’s Director-General Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “I’m pleased to see that IPPF is a high scorer in the 2021 Global Health 50/50 report. But the report shows there is much more work to be done to dismantle the structural legacy of gender inequality, in order to truly advance gender-equality, diversity and inclusion in global health. We know that the majority of the workforce in our organizations are women, we know they are majority of our service users, and most importantly we know we must promote women at the top with determination because the gap everywhere is so very large. And in order to achieve parity one day, global health organizations need to act with urgency to make sure they have more women than men in positions of leadership. IPPF must and will lead by example, we will not shy away from our responsibility and commitment to shaping a future that has gender equality and female empowerment at the centre.” Kent Buse and Sarah Hawkes, Co-Directors, Global Health 50/50 said:  “On behalf of Global Health 50/50, we would like to congratulate IPPF for their strong performance in the 2021 Gender and Health Index. By taking deliberate and transparent actions IPPF keeps the pressure on themselves and others in the sector to continue pushing for change, and provides much needed hope that we can achieve gender equality in our quest for health, dignity and social justice for all.’  IPPF is committed to promoting feminist leadership at all levels of the organization. Our gender equality policy recognizes that progress to this end requires transformative complementary actions to promote women’s rights and empowerment, including addressing gender gaps, unequal policies and discrimination that have historically disadvantaged women and girls.  

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| 11 February 2021

Proposed restrictions on foreign travel of Nepali women discriminatory

A proposal by the Nepal Government requiring consent from a guardian and local government for women under the age of 40 to travel abroad is an oppressive sexist diktat against women’s autonomy. IPPF Board Member Surakshya Giri said; “This rule penalizes women and overlooks the flaws in laws and recruitment systems which make women and girls vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of violence. Women are contributors to the economy of the country, and they must be treated as equal citizens. Human rights activists have for years highlighted exploitation of migrant workers and made valuable  recommendations. These restrictions are against Nepal’s commitments under the convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW).” According to national news reports, the proposed rule will be for “women under 40 traveling for the first time to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries on their own”. They will be required to obtain permission from family members and the local ward.  IPPF South Asia Regional Office Director Sonal Mehta said; “The Government of Nepal has clarified that this proposed rule is an attempt to curb trafficking of young girls and women. On the contrary, this rule inflicts violence by restricting movement and encouraging control over women. It reinforces regressive gender norms of approval and guardianship. I wish I was in Nepal to join the outrage of women and girls there, and we stand in solidarity with them.” End  For media queries, please contact Regional Manager Communications Himanshi Matta; [email protected]   

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| 11 February 2021

Proposed restrictions on foreign travel of Nepali women discriminatory

A proposal by the Nepal Government requiring consent from a guardian and local government for women under the age of 40 to travel abroad is an oppressive sexist diktat against women’s autonomy. IPPF Board Member Surakshya Giri said; “This rule penalizes women and overlooks the flaws in laws and recruitment systems which make women and girls vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of violence. Women are contributors to the economy of the country, and they must be treated as equal citizens. Human rights activists have for years highlighted exploitation of migrant workers and made valuable  recommendations. These restrictions are against Nepal’s commitments under the convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW).” According to national news reports, the proposed rule will be for “women under 40 traveling for the first time to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries on their own”. They will be required to obtain permission from family members and the local ward.  IPPF South Asia Regional Office Director Sonal Mehta said; “The Government of Nepal has clarified that this proposed rule is an attempt to curb trafficking of young girls and women. On the contrary, this rule inflicts violence by restricting movement and encouraging control over women. It reinforces regressive gender norms of approval and guardianship. I wish I was in Nepal to join the outrage of women and girls there, and we stand in solidarity with them.” End  For media queries, please contact Regional Manager Communications Himanshi Matta; [email protected]   

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| 29 January 2021

IPPF welcomes President Biden’s decision to repeal the Global Gag Rule

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the news of President Biden’s decision to keep his promise and repeal the harmful Global Gag Rule (GGR) - also known as the Mexico City Policy.    Since its expanded reintroduction in 2017 by the previous administration, the Global Gag Rule has contributed to an increase in unintended and high-risk pregnancies, unsafe abortions – culminating in unnecessary maternal deaths. For IPPF, 53 healthcare projects in 32 countries were impacted by GGR, with some Member Associations losing up to 60% of their funding.   IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo said:    “I welcome the decision by President Biden to repeal the Global Gag Rule.    “The expanded reintroduction of the gag was callously designed to deny women the right to decide what happens to their body. Whilst we know this policy is intended as a tool to attack abortion care by the anti-choice movement, not only has it led to reproductive coercion, it has cut deeper into healthcare provision: from HIV prevention programs to maternal health to contraceptive access – no one was spared the fallout of this policy.   “What lies ahead of us is years of work to undo the harm caused by Global Gag Rule, and to build back a better and stronger relationship with the U.S. – one where our work is not under threat from future anti-sexual and reproductive health administrations. To protect the rights of future generations of women and girls, we ask that the Biden-Harris administration take the necessary steps to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. Without a permanent repeal, the global gag remains a constant threat to women, girls, youth and marginalized communities. Reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and the human right to decide what happens to your body cannot be at the mercy of a pen stroke.   “IPPF looks on with hope and welcomes the opportunity to work closely with the Biden-Harris administration to protect and advance sexual and reproductive healthcare for all.”   And President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Alexis McGill Johnson said:  “Over the past four years, the United States didn’t just fail to support global reproductive health care access — it actively blocked it. Today, we applaud the beginning of a new chapter, as the Biden-Harris administration puts an end to the devastating global gag rule, which has prevented millions of people around the world from receiving essential health care. We look forward to working alongside the administration and Congress to pass the Global HER Act, to permanently protect access to sexual and reproductive health care across the globe from changes in White House political control. It is long past time that the United States proudly declares to the world that reproductive rights are human rights.”     IPPF would like to thank the international community who stepped in and stepped up to help fill the funding gap that was left by the Global Gag Rule. Together, we will continue to fight and deliver sexual and reproductive health and rights. -ENDS- For media inquiries please contact Regional Manager Communications, Himanshi Matta; [email protected] or [email protected] - (+44) 2079398227   

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| 29 January 2021

IPPF welcomes President Biden’s decision to repeal the Global Gag Rule

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) welcomes the news of President Biden’s decision to keep his promise and repeal the harmful Global Gag Rule (GGR) - also known as the Mexico City Policy.    Since its expanded reintroduction in 2017 by the previous administration, the Global Gag Rule has contributed to an increase in unintended and high-risk pregnancies, unsafe abortions – culminating in unnecessary maternal deaths. For IPPF, 53 healthcare projects in 32 countries were impacted by GGR, with some Member Associations losing up to 60% of their funding.   IPPF’s Director-General, Dr Alvaro Bermejo said:    “I welcome the decision by President Biden to repeal the Global Gag Rule.    “The expanded reintroduction of the gag was callously designed to deny women the right to decide what happens to their body. Whilst we know this policy is intended as a tool to attack abortion care by the anti-choice movement, not only has it led to reproductive coercion, it has cut deeper into healthcare provision: from HIV prevention programs to maternal health to contraceptive access – no one was spared the fallout of this policy.   “What lies ahead of us is years of work to undo the harm caused by Global Gag Rule, and to build back a better and stronger relationship with the U.S. – one where our work is not under threat from future anti-sexual and reproductive health administrations. To protect the rights of future generations of women and girls, we ask that the Biden-Harris administration take the necessary steps to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. Without a permanent repeal, the global gag remains a constant threat to women, girls, youth and marginalized communities. Reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and the human right to decide what happens to your body cannot be at the mercy of a pen stroke.   “IPPF looks on with hope and welcomes the opportunity to work closely with the Biden-Harris administration to protect and advance sexual and reproductive healthcare for all.”   And President and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Alexis McGill Johnson said:  “Over the past four years, the United States didn’t just fail to support global reproductive health care access — it actively blocked it. Today, we applaud the beginning of a new chapter, as the Biden-Harris administration puts an end to the devastating global gag rule, which has prevented millions of people around the world from receiving essential health care. We look forward to working alongside the administration and Congress to pass the Global HER Act, to permanently protect access to sexual and reproductive health care across the globe from changes in White House political control. It is long past time that the United States proudly declares to the world that reproductive rights are human rights.”     IPPF would like to thank the international community who stepped in and stepped up to help fill the funding gap that was left by the Global Gag Rule. Together, we will continue to fight and deliver sexual and reproductive health and rights. -ENDS- For media inquiries please contact Regional Manager Communications, Himanshi Matta; [email protected] or [email protected] - (+44) 2079398227   

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| 25 January 2021

IPPF statement on Indian court judgement that 'skin-to-skin contact' does not amount to the offence of 'sexual assault'

The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court in India has observed in a particular case that groping a child’s breast without 'skin-to-skin contact' does not amount to the offence of 'sexual assault' under Section 8 of the country’s child protection law - the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.  IPPF notes with grave concern that the judgment is deeply flawed in its understanding of child sexual abuse and fails to take into account the power hierarchy when an adult person abuses his/her authority over a child/minor. IPPF works with survivors of violence and fully understands the effect child sexual abuse has on the physical, mental and emotional health of the survivors. Amritananda Chakravorty, a Delhi-based lawyer said: "The definition of 'sexual assault' under POCSO is a comprehensive one that includes acts of touching breast with sexual intent, and there is no requirement of any "skin to skin" contact, as held by the Bombay High Court. Just because the punishment is stringent does not mean that the judiciary would insert elements in the offence that are not there. It is bizarre to say that sexual misconduct with a 12-year-old child would not be an offence under POCSO merely because she was clothed."   IPPF clearly states that any attempt to dilute the statutory regime of POCSO would be hugely detrimental to the child rights and a narrow interpretation of what constitutes sexual assault would harm years of work done by child right’s and women’s rights groups in the country. IPPF hopes that this egregious decision would be overturned by the higher courts by keeping the rights of the children at the centre of any discourse on child sexual abuse.    END  For media queries, please write to Regional Manager Communications Himanshi Matta; [email protected]

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| 25 January 2021

IPPF statement on Indian court judgement that 'skin-to-skin contact' does not amount to the offence of 'sexual assault'

The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court in India has observed in a particular case that groping a child’s breast without 'skin-to-skin contact' does not amount to the offence of 'sexual assault' under Section 8 of the country’s child protection law - the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.  IPPF notes with grave concern that the judgment is deeply flawed in its understanding of child sexual abuse and fails to take into account the power hierarchy when an adult person abuses his/her authority over a child/minor. IPPF works with survivors of violence and fully understands the effect child sexual abuse has on the physical, mental and emotional health of the survivors. Amritananda Chakravorty, a Delhi-based lawyer said: "The definition of 'sexual assault' under POCSO is a comprehensive one that includes acts of touching breast with sexual intent, and there is no requirement of any "skin to skin" contact, as held by the Bombay High Court. Just because the punishment is stringent does not mean that the judiciary would insert elements in the offence that are not there. It is bizarre to say that sexual misconduct with a 12-year-old child would not be an offence under POCSO merely because she was clothed."   IPPF clearly states that any attempt to dilute the statutory regime of POCSO would be hugely detrimental to the child rights and a narrow interpretation of what constitutes sexual assault would harm years of work done by child right’s and women’s rights groups in the country. IPPF hopes that this egregious decision would be overturned by the higher courts by keeping the rights of the children at the centre of any discourse on child sexual abuse.    END  For media queries, please write to Regional Manager Communications Himanshi Matta; [email protected]