Do Definitions Matter? Data, Law and Decision-Making in Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Event date: 
4 Oct 2016
5:30pm to 7:00pm
Galleries 1 & 2, John Niland Scientia Building
Health and human rights
Sofia Gruskin
Director of the Program on Global Health and Human Rights in the USC Institute for Global Health
Any questions? Call us on 9385 1803

As with any issue where politics are involved, the sexual rights landscape can only be understood by attention to its history.  
Sexual rights – particularly the definitions and standards promoted by health and development organisations, human rights bodies, governments and advocates – are reflective of larger political currents and social movements locally and at global level. Despite advances in recent years, there have been many setbacks. At the end of 2016, a number of issues (including abortion rights, LGBTQI rights, and others) present themselves for discussion and debate. Underlying all of them are differences in perspective as to the topics and rights encompassed under the sexual rights rubric, as well as whether sexual rights are primarily to be valued for their own sake, or for their potential to improve health outcomes.
Supporting the sexual rights of all populations will benefit from cross-topic, cross-region, and cross-generational learning that engages with the complexities of gender and human rights issues in sexual and reproductive health research, programming and education. These and related issues will be explored in this special lecture.

Sofia Gruskin is Professor of Preventive Medicine in the Keck School of Medicine, and Professor of Law and Preventive Medicine in the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California, where she is also Director of the Program on Global Health and Human Rights in the USC Institute for Global Health.  
For nearly three decades, her work has been central to conceptual, methodological, policy and practice development in health and human rights, with a focus on on child and adolescent health, gender-based violence, HIV, sexual and reproductive health, and health systems change.  She serves on numerous boards and committees internationally and is the principal investigator for UNDP, WHO and UNFPA sponsored projects to strengthen health and human rights. Other partnerships include with the Open Society Foundation, and universities and local organisations in Brazil and Vietnam. 
Sofia serves as an associate editor for the American Journal of Public HealthGlobal Public Health and Reproductive Health Matters, and was the editor-in-chief of the leading international journal, Health and Human Rights, between 1994-2006. She is a senior visiting fellow with the UNSW Practical Justice Initiative.