Statement by Dr Sharman Stone, Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls: ‘She Decides’ International Conference
I am Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls, and on behalf of my country I welcome initiatives that support sexual health and family planning, especially in these particular times and Australia has a long-standing commitment to the promotion and delivery of sexual and reproductive health services in our foreign policy and aid programs.
Empowering women and girls is a central objective of our international focus, recognising the huge benefits that flow to whole communities from women's participation.
Access to sexual and reproductive health services, particularly family planning, remains critical to women's empowerment, we've all been saying this, improving gender equality, and reducing maternal and child mortality.
These services help women and girls to stay healthy, complete their education, and participate equally in society and the economy.
Now Australia continues to support our partners including the UNFPA, the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International to deliver essential sexual and reproductive health services, with a focus in our Indo-Pacific region, a region of very dire need.
Australia has been a global leader in championing the provision of sexual and reproductive health services in humanitarian crises since 2007, providing safer birthing environments, family planning services, HIV and STD prevention and treatment, protection against sexual violence and assistance to survivors of rape and violence.
Our Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, a number of you know, she has now announced on 15 February an additional $9.5 million Australian dollars for sexual and reproductive health in humanitarian crises in our region, a further demonstration of our ongoing support.
Australia continues to be a strong champion. We live in a very vulnerable region. We strongly support 'She Decides'.