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Articles by Suzanne Ehlers

Suzanne Ehlers, president and CEO of Population Action International, has worked for the last 15 years to promote women’s health, rights, and empowerment across the globe.

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Photo by U.K. Department for International Development.

Photo by U.K. Department for International Development.

The outcome document for this week’s Rio+20 summit is 49 pages long. Some 23,917 words.

Women were mentioned in less than 0.01 percent of the text. And only two of the 283 sections addressed women’s needs for family planning.

At first, this might not seem like a big deal. It’s easy to think of Rio as a purely environmental conference, dealing with issues related to sustainable development and a green economy. It’s easy to say that Rio is not about “women’s issues.”

Well, we have some news for you: You can’t have sustainable development without women. Despite the best efforts of women leaders in government and civil society, strong statements on access to contraception and reproductive health services are still in doubt. Of the seven priority areas of discussion at the summit, none included a focus on women’s health and empowerment.

The stakes at Rio are huge. Time is running out to develop plans for economic growth that reduce poverty without harming our environment. But there is no path to a sustainable future that d... Read more

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