Ramya Jawahar

Ramya Jawahar - 2016 Nominee
Position: Executive on Law and Policy (IYAFP), Board Member (YWCA of Bangalore City), Human Rights Lawyer
Organization: International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
Lawyer, community volunteer and member of the YWCA of Bangalore City, India and Vice Chair at the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning. – Isaiah Owolabi, Co-executive director at International Youth Alliance for Family Planning
Describe your contributions to and achievements in family planning.

I have worked as a community trainer on human rights for over 5 years. Since the 2013, I have been part of the International Youth Alliance for Family Planning. My role has been to produce training modules and advocacy tool kits for young community workers in over 50 countries. These tool kits are part of a larger support system which includes funding, partnerships and research for community youth working on family planning.
I am lawyer in India, and I have successfully represented contentions through court systems on women's rights over their bodies, sexual choices, including orientation, desire to have children and rights of female sex workers.

What sparked your passion for family planning?

My mother is a Gynecologist and I spent most of my childhood in the rural Asir Region (Saudi Arabia). She was the only specialist in at a primary health care center that was set up for travelling Bedouin tribes. She worked under challenging circumstances, in a part of the world that had very constrained views on sexuality, reproduction and the choice of women. I was purview to pragmatic problems women faced and I was interested in how a rights based approach could improve that.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your family planning efforts, and what have you done to overcome it?

The biggest challenge in family planning work is patriarchy. The gender disparity is often the root cause for no access to family planning methods,lack of awareness remaining a huge challenge for women. Patriarchy is as much propagated by women and social institutions as it is by men, and therefore communities, political will and policy concedes to it. I believe I have tried to participate and facilitate young women to be at the table for decisions making processes.

What is your (country/region/city)’s biggest challenge in family planning, and how can it be addressed?

India has been set on the family planning agenda since the inception of the independent nation. . Sadly, where India has failed is that it has not been able to break down through of patriarchal practices. In spite of the availability of a basket of contraceptive options, legal abortion and health facilities, the unmet need for young women remains high. Age appropriate sex education must be introduced in public and private schooling systems, including modules on gender discrmination

What do you want to accomplish in the next 5 years?

I would like to be a part of producing an age appropriate sex education module to be introduced in schools and communities.
I would like to help country youth representatives track local laws and policies, so we create primers which examine international mechanisms to address lacunas in local law

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