Currently, an estimated 220 million women have no access to contraceptives or family planning. One million teenage girls die or are injured through pregnancy and childbirth, according to Save the Children, making pregnancy the biggest killer of teenage girls globally.
Spearheading the summit - a partnership of governments, the private sector and NGOs - was billionaire philanthropist Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Mrs. Gates recently spoke passionately about her belief in the role contraception could play in improving the lives of women and combating poverty.
“Last year, I met with a group of women in Nairobi's Korogocho slum who talked openly about their family life and why they use birth control," she told CNN. "After two hours, a woman named Mary Ann summed up the conversation with something I will never forget. She said: 'I want to bring every good thing to one child before I have another.'
“When I learned what many women in poor countries faced, I asked myself: 'What would my life have been like if I hadn't been able to use birth control?'”
Speaking via video message, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton told delegates: “Reproductive rights are basic human rights.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron also joined the rallying call for women to be able to access to contraception in developing countries.
"Family planning works not just because smaller families can be healthier and wealthier but because empowering women is the key to growing economies and healthy open societies,” he said.
“We're not telling anyone what to do. We're giving women and girls the power to decide for themselves."Marie Stopes International has committed to enabling access to contraception for an additional six million women by 2020. At a function in Sydney hosted by Marie Stopes, AusAID said it would double spending on family planning aid to developing countries, focusing on providing community-specific support to improve the lives of women in the Asia-Pacific region.