In observing its 50th anniversary this year, the Population Institute is celebrating the progress made in advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Now, just as in 1969, reproductive freedom is the cornerstone of a better tomorrow. The right and capacity of people to choose free from coercion whether and when to have children, is a revolutionary development that has improved lives all around the world. Much of the progress we have made in the past half century would not have been possible without the advances we have made in reproductive health and rights.
Those advances have drastically reduced maternal and child mortality, elevated the status of women, allowed girls to complete their education, and enabled women to compete in the workforce. They have boosted household incomes and helped to combat poverty and hunger in some of the poorest countries in the world. They have also eased the pressure on water, land, and other resources, and in a world increasingly threatened by record high temperatures, rising seas, severe drought, and catastrophic flooding, reproductive freedom makes families and communities more resilient in times of crisis.
Reproductive freedom, however, is in peril. At home and abroad, many of the advances made in sexual and reproductive health and rights are under assault, and unless those attacks are rebuffed, the world will be much the worse for it.
In many developing countries, gender inequality is one of the biggest remaining barriers to the realization of reproductive freedom. Harmful social norms and practices, such as child marriage and sexual violence, restrict reproductive freedom and limit the vast human potential of women and girls.
Now, as in 1969, the Population Institute is committed to educating girls, empowering women, and improving access to reproductive health care for all. Reproductive freedom is not just a basic human right; it is a global imperative.
Our thanks go out to all those who have contributed to the success of the Population Institute and the fulfillment of its mission and vision.