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Home > WHO health topic: women's health.

[WHO] (2011) WHO health topic: women's health. Geneva: World Health Organization.


Being a man or a woman has a significant impact on health, as a result of both biological and gender-related differences. The health of women and girls is of particular concern because, in many societies, they are disadvantaged by discrimination rooted in sociocultural factors. For example, women and girls face increased vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.

Some of the sociocultural factors that prevent women and girls to benefit from quality health services and attaining the best possible level of health include:

* unequal power relationships between men and women;
* social norms that decrease education and paid employment opportunities;
* an exclusive focus on women’s reproductive roles; and
* potential or actual experience of physical, sexual and emotional violence.

While poverty is an important barrier to positive health outcomes for both men and women, poverty tends to yield a higher burden on women and girls’ health due to, for example, feeding practices (malnutrition) and use of unsafe cooking fuels (COPD).

Reource page:
• Fact sheet on women's health
• Q&A: What is a gender-based approach to public health?

• Celebrating 100 years of achievements for women and health
• 10 facts about women's health

WHO programme
• Gender, women and health

Women's health in WHO regions
• African Region
• Region of the Americas PAHO
• South East Asia Region
• European Region
• Eastern Mediterranean Region
• Western Pacific Region

Technical information
• Women and HIV/AIDS
• Gender-based violence
• More about women's health

• Women and health: today's evidence tomorrow's agenda
• WHO Multi-country Study on Women's Health and Domestic Violence against Women
• More publications on women's health

• Women and health: mortality, selected diseases and interventions

Related topics
• Reproductive Health and Research (RHR)
• Gender and reproductive rights
• Making pregnancy safer
• Gender and women's mental health
• Emergencies: women's health
• Tuberculosis and women
• Physical activity and women

Item Type
Evidence resource
Publication Type
Drug Type
Alcohol or other drugs in general
Intervention Type
AOD disorder
World Health Organization
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HRB (Not in collection)

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