Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is a topic that business representatives, party politicians and civil society experts discuss during a number of seminars during the week. But what will be the result in practice, when panels unanimously raise the complexity of the issue without providing concrete solutions?
Almedalen Week 2018 is in full swing. Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) is a topic that business representatives, party politicians and civil society experts discuss during a number of seminars during the week. But what is the result in practice, when panels unanimously raise the complexity of the issue without providing concrete solutions?
On Sunday (1/7), Plan International Sweden and RFSU organized a seminar that girls' right to their own bodies is a key factor in creating sustainable development. Experts argued that girls' right to their own bodies not only leads to economic development for nations, but also how it strengthens democracy building and is a human right. I agree with the panel's conclusion that SRHR is an issue of great complexity that requires discussion on several levels. It is to some extent understandable that the participants do not explain how the work for the right to girls' own body should go in 45 minutes. At the same time, I believe that, when the panelists as well as the moderator repeatedly state that there is consensus on the issue, it feels toothless not to be able to account for any practical solutions to the problem.
Azam Qarai, spokesperson for the Women's Network, emphasized how there are tendencies in Sweden to explain honor-related violence and the problems surrounding girls 'sexual and reproductive rights by saying that other countries' customs and norms differ from Sweden's. The panelists agreed with this and said that Sweden must stop relocating the problem to other countries and instead deal with the issue through an anti-racist approach, both nationally and internationally.
Major issues require major measures, the work extends over a long period of time and the solutions must be based on the context. As an audience, it may feel easy to support, but I am surprised that such a remarkable consensus among experts can not provide clear proposals for approaches. What does an anti-racist attack really mean? How can understanding of differences be portrayed, without accepting sexual oppression against women? The discussion about SRHR extends far beyond Almedalen Week and I hope that the experts' consensus in the near future will lead to measures in practice.