Irrespective of the phenomenal progress in science and technology, majority of women around the world and especially in the developing countries are yet to live up to their full potential. It is largely owing to our regressive social conditioning for generations that has glorified women who have obeyed, tolerated, sacrificed, compromised and neglected their own needs to prioritize the needs of their family and dear ones. Since time immemorial she has played the role of nurturing society, oblivious of her own individuality, dignity, empowerment and health. Now the time has come to pause, introspect and ask a simple question, can disempowered, weak and unhealthy women add much value towards society?
In order to move towards a brighter and healthier future, it is crucial to understand why addressing the well-being of women is becoming more and more important every day. This well-being doesn’t only comprise physical care but also emotional and psychological welfare because it can have a direct impact on our homes, communities, societies and countries. In fact, research has proven that women’s health can have far-ranging influence over their children’s psychological and emotional well-being.
Let us explore few areas where women health is facing serious threats and what complications and consequences may arise out of them:
Increase in women mortality rates
As per the latest study conducted by WHO, it has been revealed that lack of care, awareness and basic hygiene is not only reducing the quality of their lives but also increasing women mortality rates.
Increased vulnerability to addiction
Younger women in this era are taking to drugs, tobacco and alcohol which are creating adverse effects on their health. In fact these women are also getting extremely vulnerable to depression and mental disorders. Moreover, unlike men, women have showed less success in quitting addiction habits of any kind and are known to suffer more relapses than men. This is also posing a huge threat to the health of our future generations.
Lack of self-care awareness
Modern women have a tough time juggling between family and work-life. In their grinding day-to-day schedule, they often forget to allot a portion of their time for self-care. The added stress disables them to function optimally in their multi-faceted roles of a mother, daughter, wife and an employee. A supportive social ecosystem is the need of the hour in order to maximize the productivity of women that can contribute not only towards family, society but also the economy of the country.
Victims of sexual abuse
Research indicates that between 15% to 71% women around the world are the victims of sexual violence committed by their male counterparts. This savagery against women cuts across all economic and social backgrounds. Serious health consequences are arising out of this brutality towards women including spreading of sexually transmitted diseases, depression and other chronic afflictions. If not checked now, instead of nurturing life, women will become the agents of widespread devastation.
Increased existential threat with female infanticide
Can we envision a world without women? Still we are continuing the legacy of female infanticide and indiscriminately killing girl children without fearing the consequences. Poverty, social prejudice and bias against women especially in the developing nations are responsible for this deadly ritual. Although, legally this practice is banned, still sex-selective abortions are being practiced behind closed doors. This is leading to alarmingly uneven sex ratio world-wide which is estimated to be around 107 boys to 100 girls. Dearth of females is one of the cardinal reasons for intensifying sexual violence in the form of trafficking, kidnapping, assault and rape.
Burdened with early motherhood
WHO also reveals that around 100 million girls are getting married before their 18th birthday and about 14 million of these adolescent girls become mothers every year. Is it possible for these young girls who have not fully lived their childhood, not educated, not having a fully formed body and mind, to bring up another life with proper care and solid health foundation?
Years of indiscriminate exploitation is breaking the backbone of womanhood. Although, feminism, women’s independence and rights are the buzzwords in the contemporary society, very few women are aware of it and still less are able to breathe in this freedom. Majority of women are still groping in the dark, unconsciously trapped in this exploitative social conditioning, slowly losing their self-esteem, unable to standup on their feet, think or even act for their welfare.
A segment of society who are thinking with some amount of clairvoyance is trying to work towards women empowerment. And this empowerment begins with women’s awareness about their own physical and emotional health. Building this awareness among all sections of society is the key step towards realizing the full potential of womanhood in future.