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"The term gender refers to the economic, social and cultural attributes and opportunities associated Contact Us
with being male or female. … Gender attributes and characteristics, encompassing, inter alia, the
roles that men and women play and the expectations placed upon them, vary widely among UNFPA Headquarters
societies and change over time. But the fact that gender attributes are socially constructed means
that they are also amenable to change in ways that can make a society more just and equitable. "

Gender Equality

"Equality between men and women exists when both sexes are able to share equally in the
distribution of power and influence; have equal opportunities for financial independence through
work or through setting up businesses; enjoy equal access to education and the opportunity to
develop personal ambitions, interests and talents; share responsibility for the home and children
and are completely free from coercion, intimidation and gender-based violence both at work and at

"Within the context of population and development programmes, gender equality is critical because
it will enable women and men to make decisions that impact more positively on their own sexual
and reproductive health as well as that of their spouses and families. … Were gender inequality
exists, it is generally women who are excluded or disadvantaged in relation to decision-making and
access to economic and social resources." UNFPA

Sexuality and Gender Relations

"Human sexuality and gender relations are closely interrelated and together affect the ability of
men and women to achieve and maintain sexual health and manage their reproductive lives. Equal
relationships between men and women in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, including
full respect for the physical integrity of the human body, require mutual respect and willingness to
accept responsibility for the consequences of sexual behaviour. Responsible sexual behaviour,
sensitivity and equity in gender relations, particularly when instilled during the formative years,
enhance and promote respectful and harmonious partnerships between men and women." ICPD
Plan of Action" paragraph 7.34

Peer Education

Peer education is often used to generate healthier behaviours among young people. It is about
utilizing young people’s influence over one another to make positive interventions in young
people’s lives. Peer education operates on the principle that young people are more likely to be
genuinely influenced by members of their own group of friends than by outsiders, particularly adult
authorities. Peer educators receive special training and information which they pass on to their

Reproductive Health

UNFPA Lao PDR considers the following activities and services as integral to government’s
responsibility to ensure the reproductive health of citizens:

• Family planning education, counseling and services;

• Education and services for antenatal, safe delivery and postnatal care and healthcare for
infants and women;

• Prevention and management of abortion complications;

• Treatment of reproductive health conditions;

• Prevention and treatment of reproductive tract infections and HIV/AIDS;

• Information, education and counseling on human sexuality and responsible parenthood.

• Sexual Health
• " Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to
sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health
requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as
the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion,
discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual
rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled."World Health
Organization working definition
• Reproductive Rights
• "…reproductive rights embrace certain human rights that are already recognized in national
laws, international human rights documents and other consensus documents. These rights
rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individual to decide freely and
responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information
and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and
reproductive health. It also includes their right to make decisions concerning reproduction
free of discrimination, coercion and violence, as expressed in human rights documents. In
the exercise of this right, they should take into account the needs of their living and future
children and their responsibilities towards the community.
• "The promotion of the responsible exercise of these rights for all people should be the
fundamental basis for government – and community-supported policies and programmes
in the area of reproductive health, including family planning. As part of their commitment,
full attention should be given the promotion of mutually respectful and equitable gender
relations and particularly to meeting the educational and service needs of adolescents to
enable them to deal in a positive and responsible way with their sexuality.
• "Reproductive health eludes many of the world’s people because of such factors as:
inadequate level of knowledge about human sexuality and inappropriate or poor-quality
reproductive health information and services; the prevalence of high-risk sexual
behaviour; ... discriminatory social practices; negative attitudes towards women and girls;
and the limited power many women and girls have over their sexual and reproductive
• Adolescents are particularly vulnerable because of their lack of information and access to
relevant services in most countries. Older women and men have distinct reproductive and
sexual health issues which are often inadequately addressed." International Committee
on Population and Development Plan of Action, paragraph 7.3
• Sexual Rights
• "The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and
responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health,
free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Equal relationships between men and women
in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, including full respect for the integrity of
the person, require mutual respect, consent and shared responsibility for sexual behaviour
and its consequences", Beijing Platform for Action, paragraph 96
• Sexual rights embrace human rights that are already recognized in national laws,
international human rights documents and other consensus documents. These include the
right of all persons, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, to:

• Seek, receive and impart information in relation to sexuality;

• Sexuality education;

• Respect for bodily integrity;

• Choice of partner;

• Decide to be sexually active or not;

• Consensual sexual relations (not be forced to have sex through the use of violence or non-
physical force);

• Consensual marriage;

• The highest attainable standard of health in relation to sexuality, including access to sexual
and reproductive health care services;

• Be protected from the risk of disease such as HIV and other STDs;

• Decide whether, and when, to have children;

• Pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.

• "The responsible exercise of human rights requires that all persons respect the rights of
others." World Health Organization working definition
• Sexuality
• Sexuality is a central aspect of being human throughout life and encompasses sex, gender
identities and roles, sexual orientation, eroticism, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction.
Sexuality is experienced and expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes,
values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. While sexuality can include all of
these dimensions, not all of them are always experienced or expressed. Sexuality is
influenced by the interaction of biological, psychological, social, economic, political,
cultural, ethical, legal, historical and religious and spiritual factors."World Health
Organization working definition
• Sexuality Education
• " Sexuality education is a lifelong process of acquiring information and forming attitudes,
beliefs and values about identity, relationships and intimacy. It encompasses sexual
development, reproductive health, interpersonal relationships, affection, intimacy, body
image and gender roles. Sexuality education addresses the biological, sociocultural,
psychological and spiritual dimensions of sexuality from 1) the cognitive domain, 2) the
affective domain, and 3) the behavioral domain, including the skills to communicate
effectively and make responsible decisions." Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality
Education: Kindergarten to 12th Grade, Second Edition, Sexuality Information
and Education Council of the United States
• "Human sexuality education is the field of study that examines relationship skills and
knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, and values that promote healthful sexuality within
those relationships. Simply stated, the purpose of human sexuality education is to protect
and promote health and to provide skills needed for loving and responsible relationships."
Education for Sexuality and HIV/AIDS, Meeks, Heit and Burt, 1993
• Social Marketing
• Social marketing is the adaptation of commercial marketing techniques to social goals.
Using traditional commercial marketing techniques, social marketing makes needed
products, such as condoms and other contraceptive commodities, available and affordable
to people with low incomes, while communications campaigns encourage people to adopt
healthier behaviour, including use of the contraceptives.
• Population and Reproductive Health Indicators
• Access to basic health services: Percentage of villages within 4 km of a health centre
• Age-specific fertility rate: The average number of children that born to women between
two specific ages, usually calculated per 1,000 women in the age group
• Births attended by skilled attendants: Percentage of births attended by a doctors,
nurses, midwives and health workers (not including traditional birth attendants)
• Contraceptive prevalence: The percentage of married women using any method of
• Crude birth rate: Total number of births for every 1,000 population
• Crude death rate: The number of deaths for every 1,000 population
• Dependency ratio: The number of persons under age 15 plus the number of persons
aged 65 or older for every one hundred persons 15 to 64
• First pregnancy aged 15–19: The percentage of all girls and women over the age of 14
who have had their first pregnancy between the ages of 15 and 19 years
• Infant mortality rate: The number of children who die before age one year, per 1,000
live births
• Maternal mortality ratio: The number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births
• Population growth rate: The rate at which the population is growing annually
• Total fertility rate: The average number of children that would be born to a woman in
her lifetime, if she were to pass through her childbearing years experiencing the age-
specific fertility rates for a given period

• Under-five mortality rate: The number of children who die before age five years per
1,000 live births
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