Women’s health is a key means to her empowerment. It is both the indicator and an instrument for her development and progress. But the health care in India is inequitable. Women health is often neglected as compared to men and is globally impeded by poverty, limited access to education, unjust laws etc. Let us discuss them in detail:
Lack of education is the biggest cause of women health problems. The litracy rate of women is 65% which is much lesser than males which is 80% according to the census 2011. Women suffers a lot due to illiteracy and had to bear the hardships of life. She is unaware of her rights and government welfare schemes. Due to illiteracy she high fertility rate and suffer from malnutrition. Hence females have high mortality rates.
2. Sexual harassment and Exploitation at work place
Women are least covered by security measures. They are less accomodated in organized sectors and fail to enjoy social security. Sexual harassment at work, rape, sexual assault can effect women’s physical and mental health. We have read so many cases of sexual harrasment in newspapers and tv news. From studies it has been proved that one in three women are sexually harrassed at work places. These women suffers from depression, hypertension, emotional detachment and poor sleep. Also women doing labour are not paid equal wages as men and are highly exploited. They have seldom a union for collective bargaining
Poverty is the main reason why women health is neglected. She has little autonomy and is the one who eats at the end. Due to poverty and lack of money women suffer from malnutrition. They work more and eat less. Sometimes she had to eat the left over food for the welfare of her family. Starvation is more common to women. 57.4% women in rural areas and 50.9% women in urban areas suffer from anaemia. In rural areas, women donot have gas stoves to cook and often work in unhygienic conditions. The smoke from cooking effects her health. Because they are not economically self sufficient they fail to spend money for their health and nutrition.
4. Financial freedom
The low level of education, lack of autonomy in decision making or movement is an important constraint on women’s health seeking behaviour. Men are conceived to be the pivot of production while women as centre of reproduction. She is expected to stay at home and perform domestic tasks. Hence she is financially dependent on her husband. She is powerless and voiceless. They are secluded and de-valued which restrict them from asserting for their right to good nutrition and health care.
5. Few pregnant women receive prenatal care
Many health problems of Indian women are related to high levels of fertility. Women in remote areas still lack medical facilities. India accounts for 19 percent of all live births and 27 percent of all maternal deaths. Due to poverty and illiteracy the rural people cannot afford the medical charges. Many women opt for home delivery under unhygienic conditions. Hence their is lot of risk to baby and mother. In 2009 report, UNICEF came up with shocking figures on the status of new mothers in India. The maternal mortality rate of India stands at 301 per 1000. With as many 78,000 women in India dying of childbirth complications in that year.
6. Discrimination between boy and girl
India has a patriarchal culture. Gender bias and son preference grapple the mind of parents. Even in very educated families this kind of bias can be seen. Boys are always preferred over girls if a choice for an opportunity has to be made. In rural areas Girls shoulder the domestic responsibilities of cooking, fetching water, care for siblings in absence of mothers. No body bothers about her health as she is also considered as an economic burden. They are disallowed to attend school after they attain puberty.Thus their health suffers.
Women in India are malnourished. It is very much common women belonging to households which are below poverty line. It Nutritional deprivations have two major consequences for women. First is they never reach their full growth potential and second they suffer from anaemia.Women in rural areas lack medical facilities. They donot receive clean drinking water and other basic facilities. Their living conditions are pathetic and suffer from various diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV.
8. Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a common issue affecting the lives of millions of women in country. It is an endemic in India. More than 60 percent of women in India are victims of domestic violence. It brings multiple damages to women. Depression, stress, low self esteem, loss of opportunity, isolation from friends and family are some outcomes of domestic violence . Physical impacts of domestic violence can be noted through death, disability and illness. National Crime Records Bureau reveal that crime against women is committed every three minutes . From records it is found that a woman is raped every 29 minutes, a dowry death occurs every 77 minutes. And one case of cruelty committed by either the husband or relative of husband occurs every 9 minutes. This all occurs despite the fact that women in India are legally protected under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act.
9. Strong son preference
Although India has advanced in many fields. But still there is strong son preference in our country which can be clearly seen through Natality inequality. In the family right from infancy through early childhood and beyond girls and boys are perceived and treated differently. Women are pressurized to conceive if she has given birth to daughter. Another evils such as female foeticide, abortions and multiple pregnancies ruins her mental and physical health badly. She is not treated well if she bears a daughter. Hence she is tortured emotionally and physically too.
10. Child marriage
Despite of efforts made by government Child Marriages are still prevalent in India. Girls are thought as an economic liability thus they are married at early ages. Due to which they bear child in their early age which leads to serious health problems. Early motherhood impairs the health of women and contributes significantly for an upward stride of Maternal Mortality rate.