|October 19th, 2017
In a recent poll — the first of its kind — 380 gender experts on women’s issues ranked Lima, Peru as the world’s worst megacity for women to obtain reproductive healthcare.
The poll, conducted in June and July, highlights the lack of family planning services in Peru, where one in five girls under 19 becomes pregnant, and more than half of pregnancies among girls aged 12 to 16 are the result of rape. Adding insult to injury, obtaining emergency contraception is often difficult.
According to reproductive rights groups in Lima, teen pregnancy and backstreet abortions are common, and are a leading cause of death for both women and teenage girls; abortions are illegal, except when the mother’s health is at risk.
Women in Latin America and the Caribbean live under some of the world’s most restrictive abortion laws, with seven countries in the region operating blanket bans.Other megacities that ranked low in terms of women’s reproductive health safety in this poll were Kinshasa, Karachi and Cairo.
The status of women in megacities is significant. With urban growth accelerating, it’s estimated that as many as six billion people could live in them by 2045. When women work, typically they reinvest large amounts of their salary into their families — up to 90% of their earnings, according to some studies. For a community to thrive, therefore, it’s best to ensure that its women thrive.
This can’t be done without investing in programs that support women’s reproductive health. Campaigning for and investing in women’s reproductive health is, therefore, more critical than ever: doing so is the only way to give women the means to space their children as they wish, thereby enabling them to secure the health and prosperity of their families in our ever more numerous and growing megacities.To not do so puts their living standards at serious risk.
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