Three women in Sub-Saharan Africa laugh with a baby.

Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights

When a woman has sexual and reproductive health and rights she can be strong.

The global status of women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights is disturbing: 225 million women worldwide want (but lack access to) contraception; approximately 800 women die daily from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth; and 40% of UN member states criminalize same-sex relationships between consenting adults.

Why it matters

Global Fund for Women believes that a woman’s ability to control her own body and access the health services she needs – regardless of her sexuality, where she lives, her income level, or her ethnicity – is a fundamental right. When a young woman knows her sexual and reproductive health rights and can decide for herself when to have sex or to become a mother, and when she is safe from sexual violence – then she is empowered to fully realize her other rights: she can complete her education, get a job, or run for political office. And we need more girls and young women to be able to realize their full potential.

On every level, it makes moral and economic sense to invest in women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights. Recent economic analysis indicates return on investment of $120 for every dollar spent on improved access to sexual and reproductive health for women.

How we’re making an impact

While hard-won gains for sexual health and rights are often hampered by disturbing set-backs, Global Fund for Women is determined to change the status quo. Through targeted investments in grass-roots women’s groups and proactive campaigns, Global Fund for Women is helping transform lives and give voice to women and girls in the fight for their sexual health and reproductive rights.

Global Fund for Women has awarded 1,384 grants to 832 organizations to advance women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world. Women’s groups we have supported helped decriminalize first-trimester abortion in Mexico City and Uruguay. We also supported the first “out” lesbian groups in China, Croatia, India, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, and many other places.

We’re working toward these goals through initiatives like AmplifyChange, a fund that aims to empower young people, men, and women to realize their sexual and reproductive health and rights. AmplifyChange is addressing the causes of unsafe abortion, including decriminalization of abortion and supporting women’s rights to safe and legal abortion, as well as supporting the sexual rights of young people including comprehensive sexuality education, among other key issues.

Women and girls face many barriers to sexual health and reproductive rights: discrimination, stigma, restrictive laws and policies, and entrenched traditional practices. Progress remains slow despite the evidence that these rights can have a transformative effect, not only on individual women, but on families, communities, and national economies. In order to drive equality, we all must commit — fully and actively — to the sexual health and reproductive rights of women and girls.