International Women's Day
International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated worldwide every year on 8th March. This year the theme of the day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. The United Nations observance on IWD will reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development. It will equally focus on new commitments under UN Women’s ‘Step It Up’ initiative as well as existing commitments on gender equality, women empowerment and women human rights.
On this day we should make a pledge for parity. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions such as nation, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. The day also recognizes the role of women in peace efforts and development. It urges the countries to put an end to the discrimination and support women's full and equal participation.
Healthy Women - Healthy Nation
Most common health and social problems faced by Indian women:
Breast cancer is caused by uncontrolled growth of cells, which results in formation of lumps within the breast tissue. It is one of the treatable forms of cancers. If not detected early, it can be a life threatening disease as it can also spread to other parts of the body. It can occur at any age but, it is most common in women above 40 years of age. The average age of developing breast cancer has also undergone a significant shift from 50 - 70 years to 30 - 50 years. The cost of treatment involved in breast cancer is so high that most of the people cannot afford. Prevention is therefore the best strategy.
Tips for preventing breast cancer
Osteoporosis is caused by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. The bones become brittle and weak which further increases the risk of fractures especially in the spine, hip and wrist. Women are at greater risk of osteoporosis than men, especially after the age of 50, because bone loss is faster in women than men, due to hormonal changes after menopause.
As per the statistics of World Health Organization (WHO), 1 out of 8 males and 1 out of 3 females in India are affected from osteoporosis.
Tips for bone health
Malnutrition in Women
Nutrition plays a major role in an individual’s overall health. Physical and psychological health status is often impacted by malnutrition. India has one of the highest rates of malnourishment among women, in developing countries. Maternal malnutrition affects mother as well as the baby. Addressing the issues of malnutrition would have a beneficial outcome for women and children.
Preparing for motherhood should not be a matter of chance. Every woman should prepare herself for her motherhood. This should be done through education, awareness and counselling of each woman.
Tips for mother’s health and nutrition
Encourage pregnant women to take Iron rich foods such as meat, egg, green peas, lentils and green leafy vegetables. Make sure that the diet taken during pregnancy is light, nutritious, easy to digest and rich in all essential nutrients.
Social problems faced by the women
Female Foeticide and Infanticide:
Terminating a pregnancy after pre-determining the sex of the baby, or killing the girl child after they are born, is one of the biggest social problems facing India.
Domestic violence is a major issue in India. Domestic violence is defined as acts of physical, psychological, and sexual violence against women. It is found across the world and is currently viewed as a ‘hidden epidemic’ by the World Health Organization. Education and empowerment of women is crucial for preventing atrocity against women. Any incident of domestic violence must be brought to the notice of police, and if necessary, to the women commission. The general public should also be sensitised about such issues.
Suicide is a major problem in India. Furthermore, the rate of suicide has been found to be higher in women as compared to men in India. The common reasons for women's suicide are directly related to: depression, anxiety, gender discrimination, domestic violence, sexual harassment, dowry and other factors. The suicide rate is particularly high among female sex workers in India, who face numerous forms of discrimination.
In order to prevent suicide, there is need for pro-active measures to be taken by various groups such as NGO’s, self help groups and youth groups besides government authorities. Holding camps in vulnerable areas, organising counselling sessions besides mobilizing Information, education and communication (IEC) activities etc. will go a long way in spreading awareness.
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