Teachers and students called for new legislation and implementation of existing laws regarding sexual and reproductive health rights and youth-friendly policies. The sexual and health reproductive should no longer be considered taboo, they maintained.
They were partaking in an inter-university debate competition organised by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi and Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) in connection with the International Youth and World Sexual Health Day.
Students from QAU, International Islamic University, Hamdard University, National University of Science and Technology, Preston University and Fatima Jinnah Women University participated in the competition.
During the debate, students stressed the need for youth-friendly policies and called for the implementation of existing laws with regard to sexual health rights.
The debaters said the young generation is in need of awareness on sexual and reproductive health as well as health facilities where they can avail these rights and information related to it. They rejected all kinds of myths and taboos linked to sexual health and re-productivity issues.
Hamdard University students won the first prize, QAU came second while IIU clinched the third position. QAU Gender Studies Department Head Dr Farzana Bari distributed prizes among the winning students.
Bari said that sexual health is directly linked to sexual rights. “Pakistan is a male-dominated society where women do not play a decisive role especially with regards to sexual relationships,” she remarked.
She said there are various socio-cultural taboos about sexual health and called for a need to impart safe-sex education to the youth.
Bari said that sex education should not be restricted to women but men also need to be made aware of them so as to be able to play a significant and well-informed role in their relationships. She regretted the fact that abortions are illegal in Pakistan as it leads to various health problems among women. “Women in Pakistan do not have a right to their bodies which results in severe psychological problems for them”.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2013.