In the News

26 June 2013

UNFPA Reminds Islamists that Women’s Rights Bring Economic Benefit

CAIRO — Two decades of modest advances in women’s health and reproductive rights in the Middle East and north Africa have come under threat by conservative religious forces, the UN’s organisation promoting family planning warned this week at a major conference in the Egyptian capital.

UNFPA used the gathering in part to remind Arab countries, now increasingly run by conservative Islamist governments, that improving women’s health, including access to family planning tools, is a way to resolve region-wide economic problems, such as youth unemployment and a lack of skilled workers.

UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin, a physician who previously served as Nigeria’s health minister, also said he wants companies to help make it easier for men and women to access the tools of family planning such as condoms and birth-control pills by lowering costs so as to make them cheaply available to all.

Read the full story by Borzou Daragahi in the Financial Times