Forced sterilisation and the status of women in society
In conversation with Ms Saoyo Tabitha Griffith
The issue of forced sterilisation is a little-known matter as women are generally reluctant to discuss their experience. Stemming from the social stigma attached to women unable to have children, many women suffer in silence. Ms Saoyo Tabitha Griffith (Deputy Executive Director, KELIN) sheds light on the challenges and continued battle against the ongoing forced sterilisations in Kenya. The issue of informed consent and the demographic of women who are disproportionately affected are explored.
In terms of who can consent, what type of consent is required, and the lack of emergency surrounding the procedure raise significant questions over the current practice of medical professionals. Despite the discussion focusing on Kenyan examples, the practice is wide spread, including in Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Uganda.
While reproductive rights tend to focus on women who want children, the Maputo Protocol and accompanying protections cover sexual and reproductive rights and speak to all women, both those who want and do not want children. The importance of such rights is explained through the associated societal benefits that accompany the empowerment of women, highlighting that the time for investing in women is now. The conversation ends with a roundup of some basic sexual and reproductive rights every women (and man) should be aware before seeking medical assistance.
This conversation was recorded on 27 March 2019.
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