8 March is celebrated each year as International Women’s Day and this year is the 100th anniversary of this day. Consider the many ways in which women’s health has evolved in the past 100 years and also the fact that the credit for these advancements and improvement in women’s health goes at least in part to initiatives such as International Women’s Day.
Consider the instance the way in which legal and social reform has directly and indirectly helped to improve women’s health – increasing the age of marriage and sexual consent has improved reproductive health.
Access to birth control and safe abortion has negated reliance on unsafe and unreliable methods. There are also marked improvements in areas such as gender based violence and female genital mutilation as empowerment of women has increased and this has in turn resulted in better health and wellbeing of women. We also know now, that heart disease is one of the biggest killers of women, thanks to medical advances.
Women’s health challenges that now need to be addressed are, controlling maternal mortality rates, HIV infection rates, gender based and domestic violence, the threat posed by sexual and other communicable diseases as well as health threats posed by tobacco consumption.