Putting Sexuality Back into Comprehensive Sexuality Education: making the case for a rights-based, sex-positive approach

Posted by Lauren J Montgomery-Rinehart on octobre 21, 2016 at 8:17



Introduction
This discussion paper builds on IPPF’s report ‘Everyone’s right to know: delivering comprehensive sexuality education for all young people’ 2, launched at the Women Deliver conference in May 2016. The report recommends that high quality CSE should be delivered to all young people and explores the evidence supporting the provision of sexuality education both in and outside of schools.
The report notes that globally, sexuality education is patchy, and where it is provided, tends to “emphasize potential negative health risks, as opposed to seeing young people as sexual beings and recognizing the positive aspects of sexuality.” IPPF has long stated that “sexuality, and pleasure deriving from it, is a central aspect of being human, whether or not a person chooses to reproduce”3 and has supported young people’s right to access education which goes beyond a mere biology lesson to incorporate sexual pleasure and wellbeing as a crucial part of life.

IPPF took the initiative to develop this discussion paper after advocates and programmers identified a pattern whereby sexuality was becoming marginalised within, or entirely excluded from, CSE programmes and advocacy efforts. After decades of concerted advocacy for CSE, efforts are yielding real results. Global resolutions such as the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) have recognised that effective sexuality education programmes are crucial for realising the human rights of children and young people. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide for access to sexual and reproductive health information and education, and investment in building knowledge of human rights, gender equality and global citizenship – all core elements of CSE programming. However, sexuality, arguably the ‘linchpin’ of CSE, is notably absent.

IPPF is committed to ensuring that CSE is rights-based and sex- positive but we know that taking this approach can be challenging for many educators and programmers involved in CSE in and outside school settings. The purpose of this discussion paper is to spark reflection on the importance of maintaining the focus on sexuality as we work together to advance implementation of CSE programmes locally, nationally, regionally and globally. We aim to remind our community of educators, programmers and advocates that ultimately sexuality education programmes aim to support and empower adolescents to make free and informed choices about their sexuality, recognising that expressions of sexuality are a core part of the human experience, and as complex and deserving of attention as any other aspect of our lives.

We want to move away from an “instrumentalist” approach that frames CSE as a means to an end. Instead, we believe that sexuality education programmes are worth investment and thoughtful implementation because of the fact that they empower, build self-esteem, competence and confidence and lead to better health and well-being for the individual young people they reach. Children and young people have a right to education and good health. In-school CSE programmes paired with accessible youth-friendly health services have been shown to be not only cost-effective, but also cost saving for governments.4 However, these benefits to budgets and the smooth running of health systems should be seen as additional, rather than the primary reason for undertaking CSE programmes.

Read the full article here…


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