Rebecca is a sophomore at Harvard College, concentrating in computer science with a focus on neuroscience in the “Mind, Brain, and Behavior” track. Originally from Chicago, foreign exchange experiences in Narva, Estonia and St. Petersburg, Russia have developed her interests in international relations and cultural diplomacy. She is also interested in women’s healthcare access, which is why she’s so excited to lead a conversation on sociocultural effects on women’s sexual and reproductive health at this year’s WorldMUN conference. On campus, Rebecca is a volunteer emergency medical technician and works with The Harvard Crimson’s business board, and spends her free time reading fiction, drawing, and baking chocolate chip cookies. Rebecca looks forward to meeting the delegates, making life-long memories, and engaging in critical conversations at her first-ever WorldMUN conference, and is committed to serving both the delegates and the missions of WorldMUN 2019.
Topic: Sexual and Reproductive Health of Women
Social and cultural factors significantly affect the sexual and reproductive health of women, especially in settings where traditional approaches to women’s health contradict modern medical practices. Women’s health is uniquely shaped by specific contexts, cultural norms, and constructions of femininity and motherhood of the local setting, often at the price of the provision of effective reproductive and sexual healthcare. Striking a balance between women’s health and cultural norms is crucial to the improvement of global health, and while there have recently been policy changes and medical care improvements, there is still much progress to be made. This committee seeks to answer the question of how women’s health can be improved within the context of socio-cultural norms that incorporate harmful and deep-rooted traditional values, such as patriarchal family systems, sex taboos and limited sex education, stigma surrounding menstruation, female genital mutilation, and adolescent marriage practices. In addition, this committee will discuss how to surpass the systemic barriers preventing women from accessing sufficient sexual and reproductive healthcare, as well how to balance resource allocation between women’s reproductive and sexual health and other needs in refugee crises. It is my hope that this committee on the socio-cultural influences on women’s sexual and reproductive health will not only allow delegates to fully consider the unique needs of women within the context of cultural values and traditions, social and gender inequality, and structural barriers to healthcare, but also give delegates the opportunity to craft resolutions that balance socio-cultural norms with the provision of sufficient sexual and reproductive healthcare, with a specific focus on developing countries.