Gender Inequality and Women's Health: Indian Perspective

Friday, July 18, 2014: 6:06 PM
Room: Booth 54
Oral Presentation
Asha Ramagonda PATIL , S.N.D.T. Women's University, Mumbai, Mumbai, India
Gender Inequality and Women’s Health: Indian Perspective

Indian women face most of the health problems due to discrimination. The high risk periods in their lives are early childhood and reproductive years. Inadequate and poor nutrition, non-access to primary health care, poor reproductive health and discrimination against girls are  four major causes for higher female mortality between ages one and five and high maternal mortality rates.

The practice of sex determination tests and subsequent induced abortion, small family size are added to decrease sex ratio. Sex-selective abortions are indicative of the low value to girls. Gender disparity in nutrition starts from infancy to adulthood. Girls are breastfed less in infancy. Malnutrition is an underlying cause of death among girls below age five. Nutritional deprivation amongst girls leads to improper growth and anaemia. Anaemia is more prevalent amongst girls, pregnant and lactating women. This not only complicate childbearing and result in maternal and infant deaths, maternal depletion and low birth weight infants, but also severely affect women’s productivity and quality of life. Infertility poses a serious social and emotional threat to women.

Women also face reproductive tract infections and related infertility. The reasons for maternal deaths include sepsis, abortion, haemorrhage, and anaemia, etc. Sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, have serious implications for women.  Women tend to seek medical help only if an illness is advanced, thereby reducing their chances of surviving. Many deliveries take place at homes, with untrained assistance, resulting to increase chances of infection and death. Due to low status, women are not involved in decision making including use of contraceptive, family size, etc.

The objective of the paper is to analyse current health status of women and give recommendations to policy makers, health workers to take steps to improve women’s health status. The paper is based on secondary data.