Gender Biasness & Women’s Health

Women in our society are facing many injustices and inequalities in almost all fields of life, especially in health and education setup.In most of the cultures women are facing a less preferred status in a family or in the community that affects her state of health. It has been observed in daily living that girls receive less attention by the parents,which can impact their health in later ages (Desouza, 2006). Women are the most vulnerable creatures for different diseases as they exposed to many inhuman activities e.g. they are being sexually harassed, emotionally and mentally tortured by the society, physically hurt by life partners or raped by gangs. These all are the root causes of deteriorating woman’s health.

Women_in_Deogarh_morning,_Orissa,_India

In 2002, Mukhtaran Mai, a rural Pakistani woman from a remote part of the Punjab, was gang-raped by order of her tribal council as punishment for her younger brother’s relationship with a woman from another clan. Instead of committing suicide or living in shame, Mukhtaran spoke out, fighting for justice in the Pakistani court. According to Mukhtaran Mai, after such cruel and terrible incidence she was totally broken down solely. Except her parents no one was there to speak up for her. Many times she decided to commit suicide due to shame in front of people. Mukhtaran Mai was very afraid of death and the same thing would happen again to her (BBC News – Pakistan: Acquittals in Mukhtaran Mai gang rape case, 2011). It was blessing for her that she was supported by international community and now she is out of that tragedy but unlike Mukhtaran Mai, all women are not supported and majority end up into death or serious mental illnesses. Asian Human Rights Commission shared a scenario of Iram Saeed from Lahore, Pakistan who was burned on her face, back and shoulders when acid was throw by a boy whom she rejected to marry. She underwent plastic surgery 25 times with a hope of recovery from her scar.

Let’s reflect on these brutal and discriminatory social acts on the light of World Health Organization. WHO defines health as, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease.” If we compare the definition of health by WHO with Mukhtaran Mai’s case, the first and most challenging thing was that she was physically hurt by a gang. This may tear out the normal anatomy of reproductive structures which can lead to many reproductive health issues like unwanted pregnancy, abortions, hemorrhages etc. In psychological perspective, the stressful condition can compel women to commit suicide. This thought is very common in all females because the society doesn’t accept females with any kind of mistake, although males are also involved in many anti-societal works and mistakes but they are not treated like Mukhtaran Mai. Similarly, Iram Saeed is another victim among us suffering from permanent damaged skin. While I am writing this paper the face Iram Saeed comes to my mind,my heart stops beating and I can’t stop my tears thinking about a woman who lost her natural beauty for no reason. In many cultures there are some discriminatory actions which directly affect the health of women.Being a part and victim of a patriarchal society I will share some examples of my area. In most of the cases in our area women are not allowed to take decisions for themselves or for their families. They are not allowed to make choices in most cases. I once witnessed a scenario in a friend’s home and with her consent I am sharing it. Her sister in-law was pregnant, it was her primigravida and she was only 19 years old. She used to be verbally abused within the family and she was the one to do all the domestic work alone from lifting heavy loads to sweeping floors at home. She never visited hospital from conception till the day of delivery. At the time of delivery she was not taken to hospital and the shocking event was the delivery of the child in the washroom of her room. This was a greater risk for the mother and child both. According to an International Journal of obstetrics and gynecology (2011) “in the triennium 2006–2008, 261 women in the UK died directly or indirectly related to pregnancy. The overall maternal mortality rate was 11.39 per 100,000 maternities.” According to WHO “Approximately 15 000 women die every year in Latin America and the Caribbean of causes related to pregnancy(Souza et al., 2010) .In my opinion the lack of education system and lack of awareness is the leading cause of maternal mortality. Another alarming factor is early marriages that create complications in child bearing processes and also in delivery.

gender-equality

In conclusion , according to sunrise model ,educational factors , cultural values and life ways  and political and legal factors are influence health women’s health .Educational factors includes the lack of knowledge about the complications of pregnancy , the hygiene practices and the diet for a pregnant woman. Cultural values and life ways include the cruel boundaries for women, the negligence of women’s right to live healthy life, right to take decisions according to their wish, early and forced marriages, and abortion of baby girl.Political and legal factors include the overall negligence of women’s rights. Government should make and enforce strict policies for discriminatory behaviors. It should punish the people involved in gender discrimination and should support the victims. Education must be made compulsory and free for males and females. Being a health care member, I can create awareness among the females suffering from different health issues by providing knowledge about those diseases, their complications, and how to protect from those complications.Also I can collaborate with different organizations who are working for women’s rights and their health. Moreover, I can advocate with government for women rights and reproductive health.

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