Latin America's decline in sex education may aggravate economic inequality and perpetuate the poverty of many teenagers in the region, as unintended pregnancies does not allow them to integrate into the labor market, alerted The ONU Population Fund (UNFPA).
UNFPA director for Latin America, Esteban Caballero, explained in an interview with EFE that Latin America made important progress in the last decade, but in recent years is experiencing a "clear setback" in sex education.
This involution is mainly explained by the rise of ideological conservatism and certain religious beliefs, as well as by the economic crisis, said Caballero on the occasion of the State of the World Population Report 2017, published the 19 of October 2017 in London and highlighting the relationship that exists between economic inequality and lack of sexual and reproductive health.
"There has never been a lot of sex education in the region, but now, that there is less information, generates more controversy and polarization than before. the beliefs of the churches have a lot of influence in the public opinion and the vision on sexuality education, "said the expert at UNFPA regional headquarters in the Panamanian capital.
According to Caballero, there are sectors of Latin American society that are "confusing" sex education with the so-called gender ideology, which push to stop public initiatives and are dedicated to denunciate that teaching sexuality in schools is "an imposition of globalization and of the international agenda”
"It is an illusion to believe that by eliminating sex education in schools, the problem is over, because there are more and more spaces where children can learn, such as social networks, television or the internet, where the information is not controlled and there is more access to it, "he said.
"One of the characteristics of the region is the difficulty of accepting that teenagers have sexuality," he added.
The other reason that explains the decline in sexual and reproductive health is the economic crisis that has pushed thousands of people into informal work, decrease tax collection and, therefore, investment in social programs.
"We have not managed to achieve social politics, but we can not allow that in moments of crisis or uncertainty We miss everything that We want to achieved," he said.
The report released this Tuesday reveals that 30% of Latin Americans between the ages of 15 and 49 do not have access to modern contraceptive methods and therefore can not decide when and how often to be mothers.
The regional director of UNFPA warned, however, that this quantity "is a mirage that results from the tyranny of averages", since there are large differences in prevalence rates of contraceptive use among countries in the region, as well as within the countries themselves.
"The access to sexual and reproductive services is a factor that can impoverish or lighten the economy of a family or a person" said Caballero.
Lack of control over their reproductive lives has a major impact on women's working lives, restricting their access to education, delaying their entry into paid work, and reducing their income.
"The solutions are not so complex or expensive, it's just a matter of giving more importance to sexual and reproductive health policies." Uruguay is the country that is leading the way, "he concluded.