Dr. Marlies Casier - A state free(d) body? Contemporary challenges to the international recognition and realisation of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

To freely decide on one’s own body. Whether or not to have children. Enjoying one’s sexuality, free from any pressure or force. This is what sexual and reproductive health and rights or ‘SRHR’ is essentially about. Gender equality necessitates these personal ‘body’ rights. A matter that resonated internationally in the 1990s, with the UN Conferences of Cairo (1994) and Beijing (1995), when UN member states committed to a human rights-based approach to reproduction and sexuality.

Twenty years later we take stock. How do SRHR look like in most countries? How have they changed women’s and men’s lives? Why do some countries try to turn the clock backwards? And should we be worried about the increased international polarization around sexuality and reproduction? Is the international attention for sexual and reproductive rights proving counter-productive? This lecture engages with these and other timely questions regarding the promotion of SRHR.

Dr. Marlies Casier is a visiting professor at the Department of Conflict and Development Studies of the Ghent University, and working as a policy advisor for Sensoa, the Flemish expertise center for sexual health. As a policy maker she follows the international policies on sexual and reproductive health and rights and advises Belgium’s Development Cooperation and Foreign Affairs.

Marlies Casier obtained her PhD in Political Sciences at the Ghent University, with her research on the transnational political activism of the Kurdish movement in Europe, which was awarded the “Jaarprijs Politicologie” of the Nederlandse Kring voor Wetenschap en Politiek (Dutch Circle of Science and Politics) in 2012. Her research was published in international journals and books. Apart from her PhD research she investigated partner choice and marriage formation of girls and women from Turkish and Moroccan descent in Belgium. She holds a Master in Conflict and Development (2004-2005), a Bachelor and Master in Moralphilosophy (2001-2004) and a Bachelor in Social Work (1998-2001).