FROM FP2020'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
The 2012 London Summit on Family Planning was a transformational moment. It inspired the FP2020 movement, and now, more than two years later, we are still inspired by the vision of expanding access to contraception to 120 million more women and girls by 2020.
My commitment to improving and expanding family planning began decades earlier. It began before the International Conference on Population and Development, before I worked in family planning centers in Egypt, Greece and Jordan, and before I first volunteered at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the United States.
A deeply personal experience crystallized how the lack of contraception can alter the trajectory of a young woman’s life. The ability to decide whether and when to bear a child is one of the most basic human rights. It’s a decision that can determine what kind of future a woman will have—and whether she will have one at all. I was fortunate to have the information, services and supplies—and most important, the agency—to decide for myself when I would become a mother. I know how differently my life could have turned out had I not.
Collectively, we have the knowledge and the resources to expand family planning services to nearly all who want them, yet there are still millions of women and girls who go without. Perhaps it is because women and girls are so often left out of decision making. Or perhaps it is because it is easier to disregard sensitive topics of women’s empowerment and autonomy. Or perhaps it is because in times of crisis, health interventions that “only” meet the needs of women and girls are not seen as priorities.
This is why FP2020 is so necessary.
FP2020 is more than a goal—it is a promise. A promise to the least fortunate women and girls that we will not forget about their rights and agency, that we won’t let contraception get pushed aside because it makes some people uncomfortable. It’s a promise that family planning will not be seen as less important because it “only” affects women and girls, or because there are other, equally urgent health matters.
Last year, 8.4 million more women and girls were able to use modern methods of contraception than the year before. The unique collaboration that is FP2020 required a leap of faith and commitment of effort by so many partners, each of whom played a part in making this possible.
It will not be easy to keep this promise. The road to 2020 is long and arduous. But when we reach our destination, I know we will stand together, millions of us, and look back on what we have accomplished with pride.
Family Planning 2020