Reproductive Health And Rights In An Age Of Inequality
Seema Jalan, Contributor
Executive Director, Universal Access Project
When I visited Uganda last year, I met a woman named Sarah*. As she relayed, from the moment she was born, Sarah’s life was shaped by inequality: She was born into poverty, with no support from her family, no access to education or health care, and no job opportunities in her rural town. As a young girl of 12, she moved to the city on her own looking for economic opportunity, where she was raped by an older man and became pregnant. Through her sheer will Sarah survived: She gave birth unattended and, with no other opportunities to provide for her child, ultimately engaged in sex work so that she and her baby daughter could survive. In Sarah’s part of town, the majority of women engage in sex work to make a living, some starting as early as age 12 or 13. They do not become sex workers because they want to; there are simply no other options to provide for themselves and their children.