Sexual and reproductive health

Girls’ Progress equals Goals’ Progress:
What Counts for Girls

Group of happy young girls sitting in the grass, Uganda.
Jonathan Torgovnik

11 October 2016: The theme of this year’s International Day of the Girl is based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and central to the achievement of all of these goals is gender equity. Building equitable gender norms will enable girls to grow and develop to their full potential. This is an important goal in itself and also contributes to achieving other goals.
Too often, however, early adolescence is a period of increased expectation for girls and boys to adhere to stereotypical norms and it is these norms that help to perpetuate gender inequality. A recent review of existing research reveals that young adolescents commonly express stereotypical or inequitable gender attitudes. These inequitable attitudes contribute to harmful behaviours and related poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes.

What works to improve young people’s sexual and reproductive health

Photo of adolescents in Asia region
Juan Daniel Torres, Courtesy of Photoshare

22 August: New research published today shows that there are number of intervention studies which can help to improve health outcomes in young people (ages 10-24), but there is no single action or intervention which can work for all young people, to address all of their needs. While several high-quality studies were found, they may only be applicable in specific settings for specific outcomes. More evidence is needed to show whether they can apply to other settings or help to improve additional sexual and reproductive health outcomes for young people.

Comments sought for a Global Accelerated Action for Adolescent Health (AA-HA!) Framework

7-28 March 2016 - Online survey - To support planning, implementation and monitoring of a SURVIVE, THRIVE and TRANSFORM response to the health needs of adolescents in line with Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030) and its Operational Framework, WHO and partners are developing a Global Accelerated Action for the Health of Adolescents (the Global AA-HA! Framework). Comments are now sought for initial inputs into the Framework, from representatives of government, civil society, the private sector, academia, youth groups, and from individual citizens. The online survey is open from 7-28 March 2016.

Research and action needed for adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights

Girl kissing boyfriend on cheek, Ukraine
WHO/Hauranitai Shulika

GENEVA 18 December 2014 - There is growing recognition of the importance of addressing the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and young people. According to a WHO-led Special Supplement in the Journal of Adolescent Health – published online today – which marks the twentieth anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development, efforts must be intensified to ensure that the sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescents (10-19 years) and young people (10-24 years) are met and their rights fulfilled.


fact buffet

Adolescent pregnancy

1 millionAbout 1 million girls under 15 give birth every year—most in low- and middle-income countries.

Read more

Unsafe abortions

3 millionEvery year, some 3 million girls aged 15 to 19 undergo unsafe abortions.

Read more

Child marriages

39 000Child marriages: 39 000 every day. More than 140 million girls will marry between 2011 and 2020

Read more

Sample core instruments

These instruments are intended to be no more than a starting point for investigators wishing to study the sexual and reproductive health of young people. Authors caution that these instruments should always be adapted to local circumstances and research priorities and, wherever possible, be used in conjunction with each other.

TEDx Talks

Why we shouldn’t shy away from sexual education
Dr V. Chandra-Mouli, WHO/HRP