7 Dec 2012

Male leaders urged to take lead on sexual and reproductive health in Pacific

4:52 am on 7 December 2012

Male leaders are being urged to take the lead in bringing about progress on sexual and reproductive health in the Pacific.

The New Zealand Parliamentarians' Group on Population and Development launched a report yesterday based on a hearing that brought together a number of Pacific politicians and NGO representatives earlier this year.

The recommendations include supporting legislation and policies to protect the rights of women and girls and encouraging greater youth engagement in decision making about their own sexual and reproductive health.

The Vice Chair of the group, New Zealand MP Maryan Street, says there are cultural challenges in the Pacific which can prevent sexual and reproductive health and rights' agendas being advanced.

She says before any real progress can be made, male politicians need to get on board.

"Because there are so few women members of parliament in the Pacific, the burden cannot be carried by women alone either in parliament or in the non governmental sector so male parliamentarians have to step up to lead this agenda and many of them are."

The Vice Chair of the NZPPD Maryan Street.