Gender bias leaves South Asia's women in poor health

April 01, 2004

Gender discrimination in South Asia has led to a systematic devaluing and neglect of women's health, say researchers in this week's BMJ.

They believe that a human rights based approach may help to overcome gender related barriers and improve the wellbeing of men, women, and children.

Gender discrimination at each stage of the female life cycle contributes to health differences in South Asia, write the authors. Sex selective abortions, neglect of girl children, death during pregnancy and childbirth, and poor access to health care for women and girls have all been cited as reasons for this difference.

The violation of fundamental human rights, and especially reproductive rights of women, also plays an important part in perpetuating gender inequality.

Policy makers, programme managers, health professionals, and human rights workers in South Asia need to be aware of and responsive to the detrimental health effects that gender plays throughout the life cycle, they conclude.
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BMJ

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