Press Release

Reproductive Health and Rights Are Crucial to Women’s Advancement, New Booklet Shows

03 July 2000

UNITED NATIONS, New York - Reproductive health and rights are lifetime concerns that are essential to women’s empowerment and gender equality. A new publication from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) explains why.

Women’s Empowerment and Reproductive Health: Links throughout the Life Cycle, the latest booklet in UNFPA’s advocacy series, was produced as a contribution to the United Nations’ "Beijing+5" review of progress since the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women. It will be launched on 11 July, World Population Day, which will be marked with events throughout the world highlighting this year’s theme, "Saving Women’s Lives" (for more information, go to

After describing the international consensus reached in Beijing about empowering women and ending gender inequality, and defining key human rights concepts, the report examines key issues related to reproductive health and rights that affect women throughout their lives. Topics covered include:

  • Early life chances—short birth intervals and infant mortality, son preference and sex selection, the impact of maternal mortality, mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and AIDS orphans;
  • The mutual relationship between reproductive health and education—the gender gap in education, how education delays marriage, improves health and lowers fertility, early sexual activity, pregnancy and curtailment of education, sexual and reproductive health education;
  • Adolescence and the transition to adulthood—restrictions on girls, aggressive behaviour among boys, young people’s high rates of STDs and HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse, rape and exploitation, pregnancy and abortion, female genital cutting and mutilation, and adolescents’ needs for reproductive health information and services;
  • Marriage and the family—health risks of early marriage, how family forms and norms are changing, family planning and contraception, husband-wife communication, impacts of unwanted pregnancy, safe motherhood, sexual health, STDs and HIV/AIDS;
  • Labour force participation and employment—housework and care of young children, employment for women and reproductive decisions, gender-related risks in the workplace;
  • Reproductive health and violence—rape, domestic violence, and women as victims in war and emergencies;
  • Issues affecting the health of older women.

Women’s Empowerment and Reproductive Health: Links throughout the Life Cycle is available in Arabic, English, French and Spanish. Copies may be ordered from, or from United Nations Population Fund, Information and External Relations Division, 220 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017, USA.

The report can also be downloaded from the web, at

Contact Information:

William A. Ryan
Tel.: +66 2 288 2446

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