Global inequalities and human rights in women's sexual and reproductive health.

Ruth Macklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Global disparities in health among rich and poor nations have been well documented. Health disparities are even worse for women in resource-poor countries than for men. Obstacles to women's health and access to health services include deeply rooted customs or cultural norms, including religious teachings and practices; ideological and political factors; poor health infrastructure; and discriminatory laws or failure to enforce laws designed to protect the rights of women. The most striking inequalities exist in the area of reproductive and sexual health. The situation is worse in those parts of the world in which women are systematically oppressed, have few civil rights, or are in such dire poverty that they are unable to afford preventive and therapeutic services that are otherwise available to women of greater means even in their own countries. These gender inequalities can be remedied, in part, by economic development that would improve women's access to prenatal care and skilled maternity services. In large measure, however, significant improvement in women's health, especially reproductive and sexual health, will only come about with a change in cultural attitudes and practices, in addition to legal reforms and better enforcement of existing human rights provisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalGaceta médica de México
Volume142 Suppl 2
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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