We have talked in the past about intersectional feminism, and the role that privilege plays in the lives of women and girls around the world. Healthcare is no stranger to those same dynamics, and the access that girls find can be very different depending on their identities. An example of this can be found in the United States, where black infants are more than twice as likely to die as white infants.
This phenomenon isn’t unique to the United States. Race, ethnicity, and class can impact mortality rates for women and children all around the world.
It’s important to know that healthcare that benefits one woman can hurt another. Reproductive rights is a term that we associate with positive connotations for women. But for low-income women and women of color, the history and practice of reproductive health has been used as a tool to oppress and control.
Adolescence can be a confusing time for girls, but for some it can be dangerous. Across the world more than 200 million women have undergone FGM (female genital mutilation). This practice of cutting, removing, or sewing together of a woman’s external genitalia can have a lifelong impact on health. If current trends continue, 15 million additional girls will be subjected to it by 2030. Want to learn more about 6 women who are campaigning to protect women and girls from FGM?
Women do not have equal access to healthcare. To make matters worse, unequal access to healthcare is reinforced by economic inequality, which in turn reinforces unequal access to healthcare. We need to find a way to break the cycle and give women the power to make their own healthcare decisions. It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference: For every $1 invested in reproductive health services in the US, taxpayers save $6 on public health services. Want to learn more about the cycle of healthcare and inequality?
Health is clearly important. Women and girls? Also clearly important. So what’s the first step in empowering women and girls worldwide to take care of their bodies?