Longtime advocate for women’s health and reproductive justice, Lourdes Rivera is senior vice president for US Programs at the Center for Reproductive Rights. The Ford grantee is working to ensure that reproductive rights are recognized as human rights and are protected by law.
A leader in the fields of health law and policy, Rivera believes the government has a nuanced role in securing human rights for all citizens.
“What human rights means is not only that the government should leave you alone, but it also means that the government has positive obligations to help you realize your rights, to be able to have the resources, the dignity, the respect, the autonomy to be able to move forward and act upon those rights,” she says.
Rivera has devoted her career to fighting for reproductive health and reproductive rights to be recognized as human rights and protected by law. Reproductive justice is key to disrupting inequality and helping to realize social change.
“Reproductive rights has been an interest of mine since I was a child,” says Rivera. “I came to learn that one-third of my mother’s generation had been sterilized, often without informed consent. That was my entryway into this work. And I came to this core belief that it’s really important for individual women to be able to make their own decisions to become a parent or not to become a parent.”
Rivera is part of the #FutureIsHers multimedia series of interviews, essays, and more, celebrating the innovators, risk-takers, and change-makers the Ford Foundation has proudly supported and the impact they’ve had on the lives of women and girls everywhere. Despite the many challenges women and girls face, around the world they’re rising up. Determined and persistent, they’re leading the way in showing us what gender justice looks like, disrupting inequality and creating a world where social change is possible: The future is hers.