Happy, healthy, confident women, treated with respect. 

At Women and Children First, we strongly support local communities in achieving this – enabled by your kind donations.

A woman places her hands on her lap in their community health meeting

A woman places her hands on her lap in their community health meeting

Too often women face challenges that can kill them or prevent them to reach their full potential. Many of the problems are linked to avoidable health issues and underlined by persisting gender inequalities. These are recognised by SDGs 3 and 5.

Lack of access to modern contraception

An estimated 214 million women of reproductive age in low- and middle-income countries who want to avoid pregnancy are not using a modern contraceptive method. This can lead to sexually transmitted infections and unsafe abortions. Estimates indicate 45% of all abortions between 2010 to 2014 were unsafe.

Lack of information about modern contraception and access to it are some of the key reasons behind these unacceptably high numbers.

Gender Inequality

Behind these problems lies the issue of gender inequality.

Data shows that only half of women below the age of 50, in partnerships, make their own decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care (based on a study from 45 countries). Gender equality is a human right and it has been proven many times how equal treatment of women helps drive development.

Cervical cancer

Approximately 90% of deaths from cervical cancer in 2015 occurred in the world’s poorest communities.

The cancer can be prevented by a vaccine and can also be treated – especially when detected at an early stage. Treatment at early stages also requires less advanced and cheaper solutions which are more accessible in poorer settings. Unfortunately, women in poorest communities often still don’t have access to these services.

Violence against women

Violence against women is a major health public health problem. Violence has damaging effects on women’s physical and mental health. It can lead to injuries, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies (and unsafe abortions), depression and anxiety.

WHO estimates that 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Efforts to end gender-based violence need to accelerate, increasing efforts to change social attitudes and unequal laws.

HIV & AIDS and related illnesses

Women constitute 52% of all people living with HIV, and young women are particularly at risk: in 2016 women aged 15-24 constituted 61% of all young people living with HIV.

AIDS-related illnesses remain the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. UN Aids’ estimates that in 2017, as many as 500,000 women over the age of 15 are likely to have died of AIDS-related illnesses. With great improvements in management of the illness in recent years improving quality of affected people’s life, this is unacceptable.

Unequal gender norms are an important factor contributing to female HIV infections. Sexual violence against women puts them at greater risks of infections (and fear of violence is a barrier to seek treatment), their lower socio-economic status often means they have less access to health education and services, and HIV policies and practice often do not cater adequately to women’s needs.

Local communities have the answers

Women and Children First is supporting communities to save the lives of women and ensure they can achieve their potential in some of the world’s poorest communities.

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