European Parliament holds hearing on sexual and reproductive health and rights

The Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee of the European Parliament conducted a public hearing on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Brussels on 22 January 2013. In the hearing´s introductory speech, Dr Gunta Lazdane, Programme Manager Sexual and Reproductive Health of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, explained the need to focus on SRHR and why SRHR are important for gender equality. She presented the new European policy framework, Health 2020, which emphasizes the importance of decreasing health inequalities and improving governance through a joint approach involving different sectors and policy makers in improving sexual and reproductive health in the European Union (EU) and beyond.

The hearing also consisted of panel discussions on:

  • health literacy and sexual education
  • public health systems and accessibility of SRHR in the EU
  • the EU’s global role as a promoter of women’s SRHR.

Experts on the panels represented the Center for Reproductive Health and Rights, Maria Stopes International, academic institutions and nongovernmental organizations. The lively discussions focused on diversity in the EU in relation to SRHR and gender equality and the role of the European Parliament.

This public hearing was organized by the Women's Rights and Gender Equality Committee to gather information for a report on SRHR and gender equality in the European Union. The report is scheduled to be finalized in 2013.