Shohan Hijra and Arif lean against a wall

UNFPA works to ensure the sexual and reproductive health and rights of, and access to HIV programmes for, gender-diverse communities in Bangladesh, a largely conservative country.

young woman covering her face

A survey conducted by UNFPA ahead of Menstrual Hygiene Day, reveals that first menstruation for women and girls in Arab states is often accompanied by fear, shame, lack of information, and even stigma and mistreatment.

What does supermodel and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador Natalia Vodianova have inside her bag? Watch as she shows us the essential items women just can't live without.

Illustration of three people

As violence against transgender people surges UNFPA marks the day to brings attention to the discrimination the LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, intersex) community faces.

new mother attended by nurse

Mothers already shouldered tremendous financial, physical, emotional, and intellectual burdens before the onset of the pandemic. But now ‒ under increasing economic pressures, reduced access to health care, diminishing social support and growing unpaid care responsibilities ‒ many of these burdens have become crushing. All of this is taking a toll on the long-term health and welfare of mothers. Women have been disproportionately affected by pandemic-related job losses, and researchers are starting to see signs of rising stillbirths, maternal mortality and poor maternal health outcomes around the world. 

A woman wearing a facemask holds a baby.

The State of the World’s Midwifery 2021 presents findings on the Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, New-born and Adolescent Health (SRMNAH) workforce from 194 countries. The report, produced by UNFPA, WHO and partners, shows the progress and trends since the inaugural 2011 edition and identifies the barriers and challenges to future advancement. The report establishes a global shortage of 1.1 million SRMNAH workers, the largest shortage (900,000) being midwives. Investment is urgently needed.

partial view of woman with hands crossed over lap

The 2021 State of World Population report, titled My Body is My Own, marks the first time a United Nations report focuses on the power and agency of individuals to make choices about their bodies without fear, violence or coercion. The report examines data on women’s decision-making power and on laws supportive of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Tragically, only 55 per cent of women have bodily autonomy, according to measurements of their ablity to make their own decisions on issues relating to health care, contraception and whether to have sex. The report also highlights the legal, economic and social barriers to securing bodily autonomy for all. Here are seven common myths about bodily autonomy and why we must abandon these misconceptions once and for all

Around the world, only 55% of girls and women are able to make their own decisions about their bodily autonomy. But, what exactly is bodily autonomy and why is it so important? Watch this video to find out and learn more at unfpa.org/autonomy

A woman holding birth control pills.

Bodily autonomy means that we have the power and agency to make choices over our bodies and futures, without violence or coercion. This edition of the State of World Population, UNFPA highlights why bodily autonomy is a universal right that must be upheld. The report reveals how serious many of the shortfalls in bodily autonomy are; many have worsened under the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. Right now, for instance, record numbers of women and girls are at risk of gender-based violence and harmful practices such as early marriage.

midwife with patient

In 2020, UNFPA trained community midwives in villages and remote rural areas and established 170 home clinics by covering the costs of renovation, equipment like ultrasound machines, medicines and reproductive health supplies. A solar suitcase provides lighting, mobile phone charging and electronic fetal monitoring. Since opening her home clinic more than a year ago in the economically depressed neighborhood of Sawan, Rahma has helped more than 120 women. In addition to midwifery, she provides check-ups, family planning, minor surgery and first aid.   

cart transporting women

Ambovombe is a landlocked district in southern Madagascar, where only about half of health facilities are accessible year-round because of poor roads and challenging terrain. And even if one could get there, the cost of transportation is too high, resulting in 61 percent of births taking place outside of a health facility. When COVID-19 struck, even more patients stopped going to health centres. For five months, two mobile clinics covered more than 10,000 kilometers to serve 59 remote localities in seven districts. 

Catarina Furtado poses with a woman.

Millions of women and girls are denied their right to have a say in sexual matters, to say yes to contraception and to make their own healthcare choices. This world must become one where every woman and girls’ body is truly her own. Catarina Furtado, UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, speaks out to achieve this world  — from educating young people about their bodies and rights, to reforming policies that do not adequately prevent or address gender-based violence, to supporting communities to adopt more gender-equitable practices.

Peruvian woman at fruit stand

Sometimes, that support comes from changing people's minds. Flavia Buitrón belongs to an organization of Quechua women in Peru that raises awareness of indigenous women's issues. The pandemic has laid bare many painful truths, not least how tough and isolating the road is when we go through difficult times alone. We’ve seen how working in solidarity is the way to reach where we are heading faster. This International Women’s Day, on 8 March, we celebrate the women supporting other women, even when their own burdens are great and growing. When women uplift other women, we all rise.

Woman standing at her doorway holds up a full bag.

Saúde das Manas (“Sisters’ Health”) project, a UNFPA partnership, aims is to strengthen the quality of reproductive health care in Brazil. The local health system provides services in COVID-19 times by setting up telemedicine offices at seven health-care clinics (called basic health units in Brazil). The clinics will provide online consultations with specialists in gynaecology and obstetrics. Before the telemedicine offices open, patients who require a more specialized consultation travel more than 100 kilometres away, mostly by boat.

Portrait of three women in traditional dress.

Reformed cutters protect the next generation from female genital mutilation in Kenya