Rising tide of conservatism hinders efforts to empower women, says UN body

Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah says a problem in Malaysia is that not everyone understands the meaning of empowerment. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, April 10, 2019.

THE rising tide of conservatism globally is jeopardising efforts to empower women and girls on their rights in making their own choices over sexual and reproductive health. 

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Asia-Pacific regional deputy director Dr Annette Sachs Robertson said child or early marriage rates, though declining, remained unacceptably high in a number of countries, as did the incidence of gender-based violence, gender-biased sex selection and female genital mutilation. 

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