SWOP: UNFPA restates commitment to bodily autonomy, women empowerment

Ms Ulla Mueller, Country Representative of UN Population Fund (UNFPA), says UN will continue to support women and hundreds of thousands of others kept from making autonomous decisions about their bodies.

Mueller said this at a news conference on State of World Population (SWOP) with theme: “ body is own: Claiming Right to Autonomy and Self Determination” in Abuja on Monday.

She called for dedicated actions and commitments toward supporting right to bodily autonomy and integrity essential to women’s empowerment.

UNFPA country representative described actions as vital to disarming many legislative, social and economic barriers that disqualified women, girls and others from making their own decisions about their healthcare, contraception and sex.

She said “UNFPA has been at forefront of advocating for and capacity to make choices for decades.

“Since 1994, our programmes have been guided by International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

“It prioritised empowerment and autonomy of women, making this foundation for sustainable socioeconomic progress throughout globe.”

Mueller, who condemned deprivation of women and girls’ bodily autonomy, said it compounded inequalities caused by discrimination and violence.

According to her, women and girls need to be able to make most fundamental choices about their bodies, gain their autonomy and advance in their health education, income and safety.

Dr Eyitayo Oyetunji, Federal Commissioner for Oyo, lauded UNFPA for pivotal role in driving girls’ and women autonomy.

Oyetunji, who described theme of the 2021 SWOP as apt, said it was aimed at empowering women and girls in view of the trauma and deprivations they were made to suffer.

He explained that it was not only men that deny women autonomy, but women who employed girls as commercial sex workers and human traffickers were also guilty. (NAN)