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Let’s Talk About Sex

Last week, at the “She Decides” conference in Brussels, government ministers met with representatives from NGOs, UN agencies, and foundations from around the world to talk about one thing: sex. We need more of that.

BRUSSELS – Last week, at the “She Decides” conference in Brussels, government ministers met with representatives from NGOs, United Nations agencies, and foundations from around the world to talk about an issue that is rarely discussed in such dignified settings: sex.

Too many young people – especially girls – lack access to quality sex education. They do not know what sex is, much less that unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy or put them at risk of sexually transmitted infections, like HIV. Even girls who know about sex often lack the information they need to avoid pregnancy, or don’t have access to contraceptives. As a result, millions of girls around the world are disempowered.

Gender inequality exacerbates the situation. In most societies, girls are valued less than boys. Often, they are viewed as the property of men. Decisions related to sex, marriage, and reproduction are out of their control.

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