Photo courtesy of Brent Balalas.
Long-time supporter of the Burnet Institute, Ms Chloe Bryce-Shorten has added her voice to the call for health equality for all women on the eve of International Women’s Day 2014.
Every day, more than 800 women die worldwide from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. A staggering 99 per cent of maternal deaths will occur in developing countries, where women are often marginalised.
Another 600,000 people, mostly women and young children, will die this year from malaria and more than one million will die from tuberculosis-related illness.
“Health equality is a basic human right and yet women, particularly young women, are often denied the very information they need to make positive health choices, access vital services, or prevent infectious diseases from impacting on their lives,” Ms Bryce-Shorten said.
“Burnet’s work with poor and vulnerable communities in the Asia/Pacific regions highlights the devastating effect that marginalisation can have on a young woman’s chances in life – of accessing a good education or better health outcomes.
“Investing in young women’s education and health creates change and can transform their lives.”
At Burnet Institute’s annual International Women’s Day luncheon, Head of the Centre for Population Health, Professor Margaret Hellard said that although Burnet works with easily-recognisable marginalised communities such as people who inject drugs or prisoners, the population most marginalised worldwide is women.
“Women’s marginalisation impacts greatly on their life. They are often disenfranchised from decision making, don’t have access to a good education, and we know from research that this will adversely impact on their health and often that of their families,” Professor Hellard said.
“When women in some communities still don’t have the right to make choices about contraception or take steps to prevent infectious diseases, the impact of their disempowerment is profound.”
“We know from our research that women aged 15-49 years in Papua New Guinea have the lowest rates of contraception rates in the world, and one in seven girls have commenced motherhood by 18 years. There is still much work to be done.”
Burnet Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb joined the call for health equality for all women and reinforced that until gender equity was addressed, women and girls will remain disadvantaged and disempowered.
“They do not have equal opportunity in life, nor equal input into decisions that effect our social, economic and political lives. Address gender equity, and all else falls into place,” he said.
To arrange interviews with Ms Chloe Bryce-Shorten, Professor Margaret Hellard or Professor Brendan Crabb please contact:
Deputy Head, Public Affairs and Communications, Burnet Institute
Ph: +61 403 755 082 or [email protected]