Global Health Experts Sound the Alarm on USAID’s “Anti-Gender Policy”

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 6, 2021

CONTACT: Madison Donzis | [email protected]

Global Health Experts Sound the Alarm on USAID’s “Anti-Gender Policy”

WASHINGTON, DC -- Moments ago, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) released the final 2020 revision of the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Policy, a document that governs all of USAID’s programming and guides how the Agency plans to advance gender equality throughout its work across the world. The 2020 revision of the policy undermines the rights of people globally and includes a number of attacks on human rights and science.

Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), a leading global health advocacy organization, issued the following in response:

“Let’s be clear: USAID’s gender policy isn’t really a gender policy at all — it’s an anti-gender policy — and yet another attempt by the Trump administration to ram through an 11th hour policy that is removed from all internationally agreed upon standards and adheres to the administration’s extremist and recurring goals: embedding the gender binary, minimizing or removing LGBTQI+ people, and omitting sexual and reproductive health rights entirely.

“As CHANGE explained in a written comment to the draft version of the policy in August 2020, the final version of the policy continues to be completely out of step with the views of the global community by failing to acknowledge that sexual and reproductive health and rights are essential in the achievement of real gender equality. Moreover, the removal of gender identity and sexual orientation present a direct attack on the reproductive and human rights of women, girls, and LGBTQI+ communities.

“The experiences of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people with gender-based violence and access to sexual and reproductive health care must not be left out of global health commitments or policies — or made obsolete — no matter how much this administration insists on keeping U.S. SRHR policies completely out of step with internationally recognized goals and commitments to furthering gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“Without basic human rights for all, there is no gender equality. This is the difference between a survivor of gender-based violence getting critical health services or not. This is the difference between an LGBTQI+ individual getting critical health screenings or not. This policy will cost lives.

“It was our expectation that the revisions would be a progressive edit, not a regressive re-writing pushed through in the final days of the current administration. This policy codifies the gender binary, ignores transgender and non-binary persons, politicizes SRHR, and undermines the globally accepted human rights framework. Sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights. The US needs to uphold them at every level, for everyone. This last minute, anti-gender policy is an embarrassment to our nation."

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