Ten facts on women’s health

This fact file highlights 10 key areas that have serious consequences for women's health over the life-course.

  • Tobacco use among younger women in developing countries is rising rapidly.
  • The HIV epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly female: Of all adults living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, 61% are women.
  • Violence has serious health consequences for women: Between 15% and 71% of women globally have suffered physical or sexual violence committed by an intimate male partner at some point in their lives.
  • Violence against women is widespread around the world: Some studies show that up to 1 in 5 women reports being sexually abused before the age of 15.
  • Early marriage is on the decline but…Even though early marriage is on the decline, an estimated 100 million girls will marry before their 18th birthday over the next 10 years.
  • Most adolescent mothers live in developing countries: About 14 million adolescent girls become mothers every year. More than 90% of these very young mothers live in developing countries.
  • Essentially all maternal deaths occur in developing countries: Every day, 1,600 women and more than 10 000 newborns die from preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • When women earn an income, they are more likely than men to buy the nets for their households.
    Insecticide treated nets (ITNs) reduce malaria cases in pregnant women and their children.
  • The burden of COPD—a lung ailment—is over 50% higher among women than among men: In most countries women tend to be in charge of cooking. When they cook over open fires or traditional stoves, they breathe in a mix of hundreds of pollutants on a daily basis. This indoor smoke is responsible for half a million of the 1.3 million annual deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Women have a higher risk of becoming visually impaired than men: Across the world and at all ages, women have a significantly higher risk of becoming visually impaired than men.

Source: WHO website

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