Nearly half of women, girls ‘do not own their bodies’, UN says

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Nearly half the women and adolescent girls in developing countries are denied the right to decide whether or not to have sex with their partners, use contraception, or seek healthcare, according to a new report by the United Nations.
The UN’s Population Fund (UNFPA) on Wednesday called the finding “alarming” and said the lack of bodily autonomy threatened women’s safety, potentially reduced economic productivity and resulted in extra costs to a country’s healthcare and judicial systems.
The report, titled My Body is My Own (PDF), looked at both women’s power to make their own decisions about their bodies and the extent to which countries’ laws support or interfered with that right.
In the 57 developing countries where data was available, the report found 45 percent of women were not fully empowered to make choices over healthcare, contraception, and whether or not to have sex. There were differences across regions: while 76 percent of women in eastern and southeastern Asia make their own decisions over their bodies, the figure is less than 50 percent in sub-Saharan Africa and in central and south Asia.
In some countries – Mali, Niger and Senegal – more than 90 percent of women are deprived of their bodily autonomy, the report said.

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