Love, sex and crisis: challenges and paths forward for sexual and reproductive health and rights in humanitarian settings


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Health, and especially sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), is all too often deprioritised by humanitarian response in favour of food and protection, according to FIGO.1 Nonetheless, fertility rates tend to rise during and after crises due to gaps in services and unmet needs, which can be life-threatening: UNFPA has estimated that 61% of preventable maternal deaths globally occur in humanitarian crises or fragile contexts.2 Rates of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), early marriage, homo- and transphobia, and other harms that result in critical SRHR needs also tend to rise. At the same time, most programmatic efforts are tailored towards maternal health and SGBV interventions for heterosexual, cisgender women of reproductive age.3 This panel invites papers examining SRHR in humanitarian and conflict settings, particularly protracted crises. We are especially interested in research on navigating pregnancy and motherhood; safe abortion; contraception, including long-acting forms; gendered norms, masculinities and femininities; feminist approaches and methodologies; and accessing information about healthy relationships, consent and sex, including comprehensive sexuality education. We are also keen to be inclusive of marginalised groups including those with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities/expressions and sex characteristics (SOGIESC), people with disabilities, youth, people living with HIV, or sex workers.

What innovative method(ologies) or theoretical frameworks can best help us understand SRHR issues in crisis settings?
What can SRHR, and especially the experiences of marginalised groups, reveal about the nature of humanitarian policy and practice?
How can we understand structural, discursive and material barriers to SRHR in crisis settings as well as possibilities for transformation?
What, if any, are the tensions, challenges or openings that come from pairing "health" and "rights" in SRHR?

Date(s) & Time(s)

November 5th, 2021
13:30 (GMT +1)
Room 15
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Megan Daigle