The world has made unprecedented progress in recent years. We have reached the moon; we have discovered the origins of the human species or revolutionized the technological world. However, no country in the world has yet managed to achieve complete equality between men and women. According to the UN (1), women get paid 23% less than men worldwide, occupy less than 24% of parliamentary seats and 1 in 3 women has suffered physical or sexual violence (200 million girls/women have suffered genital mutilation).
International Women’s Day, celebrated worldwide on March 8th, is an opportunity to analyze what has been achieved so far with regards to gender equality, as well as to reflect what remains to be done.
Health differences according to gender
According to the World Health Organization, health is not merely the absence of disease, but something broader: it is a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being. By including sociocultural aspects, women’s health is conditioned by gender factors.
Women and health: figures
Although women have longer life expectancy than men (in 2016, life expectancy was 74.2 years for women and 69.8 years for men), they have a higher incidence of disease and disability than men, especially because they suffer more chronic diseases. Practically all chronic diseases have a higher rate in women than men and that reflects worse self-perception of health status. Some of these diseases are cholesterol, hypertension, heart disorders, varicose veins, circulation problems, depression, back pain, migraines, diabetes, osteoarthritis, allergies … (2).
- It is important to note that women report higher rates of illness in problems associated with overwork, sadness and domesticity.
- Depression is more common in women (5.1%) than in men (3.6%), and in the case of unipolar depression, it is twice as frequent.
- Men, on the other hand, have greater health problems associated with risky behaviors and work outside home (accidents related to traffic, sports, work, diseases aggravated by alcohol or tobacco consumption).
- This data indicates that social factors affect people’s health. There are social aspects that affect women’s health such as the influence of poverty, social class, demands for work, the environment, exposure to pollutants and government distribution of social services (3).
- Regarding mortality, cardiovascular diseases are the ones that cause the highest number of deaths in women.
- As for cancer, cervical and breast cancer are the most frequent, but the one that causes the most deaths is lung carcinoma
- Self-harm, including suicide, was the second leading cause of death among women aged 15 to 29 in 2015.
- Every day, about 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
- Most people infected with HIV are also women, especially young women aged 15 to 24.
- One in three women may suffer physical and sexual assaults at some time in their life (4).
At Foyer Global Health we want to support International Women’s Day with its mission of assisting women to be in a position of power to make informed decisions about their health.
Contact a doctor 24 hours per day, 7 days a week without leaving home and ask them any health-related question. Also, if you or your family have to make an important decision about an intervention and want to contrast the treatment with a world leading expert, contact us and we will assess your diagnosis with the Second Medical Opinion service.
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