Pathfinder International in coalition with a few other organisations such as the Youth Coalition and Population Action International hosted a side event here at CSW on March 1, 2010 looking at Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive rights. It was great to link with other young women working on issues such as HIV and AIDS and other reproductive rights issues.
We heard from two young women leaders. Ishia Chaudry, founder of the Youth Parliament Foundation in India reminded us all that “you don’t need qualifications to be an activist and believe in something.” Maria Ines Romero from the Youth Coalition called for greater realisation of the fact that “young people should be able to exercise their right to education and information – and this is more than a simple biology lesson.”
Young women need to be involved in discussions and decisions about reproductive rights around the world, especially due to their current knowledge and experience. At the most recent YWCA Regional Training Institute held in the Asia-Pacific YWCAs in the region recognised the link between violence against women, sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV – and looked to engage with partners and others to speak and advocate for women’s education, economic justice, sexual and reproductive rights, violence against women, HIV and AIDS and human rights, through the leadership of women and young women including at international campaigns and celebrations. CSW is an important forum to do this advocacy and remind many leaders from around the world of the role of young women in tackling the HIV and AIDS pandemic.