Gender equality and medicine in the 21st century

World Health Organisation Dr Tedros

Dr Tedros is the Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2017)

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Maimoona Maheen, a fourth year medical student from Pakistan. Ms Maheen is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

The issue of gender equality has been there since the beginning of mankind and women are the main sufferers. With the development of the world, where each and every aspect of life has developed medicine has also progressed to a great extent. New diagnostic machines and medications have fought greatly with the diseases.

In the past people used to die of common bacterial and viral infections. Even in world war 1and 2 most soldiers and common people died of infections. Great work has been done in field of medicine since centuries, now in our new era medicine has evolved to great extent. Smallpox is eradicated from the world. Most of the countries have been declared polio free. Diseases like TB, chickenpox, measles, cholera which caused pandemics in the past can now be easily diagnosed and treated and many valuable lives are saved. Malaria is also brought under control by new medications.

As far as the provision of medical facilities is concerned, still there is some discrimination among genders especially in underdeveloped countries. In India, gender selection by ultrasound is at peak. By using ultrasound facility, people know gender of their coming child and if there is a girl they get rid of her.

Still today many mothers die during the process of childbirth due to lack of medical facilities. Most of these maternity problems are due to loss of excess blood during delivery .In small villages where women are kept deprived of many things, medical facilities are also one of them.

Family planning practices are still uncommon in many parts of the world. Women are forced to rear many children. In some underdeveloped areas, giving birth to 9, 10 children is common for women.

Genital mutilation of small girls is also practiced unfortunately in some countries which is a horrible practice and becomes quite painful for them later in their lives.

Discrimination among children in provision of proper nutrition is also seen. Boys are provided more food as it is thought that they need more than girls.

Early marriages and pregnancies is a great issue even today in 21st century which is a great risk for the health and lives of young girls. Similarly, unsafe abortion practices are also common which leads to many deaths.

Many women all around the world suffer postmenopausal problems and osteoporosis. But it is not considered a problem in many families and doctors are not approached for these ailments.

Mental illnesses especially depression is common in female gender. Most women are abused and tortured and are kept away for seeking any kind of help in this regard.

Although many parts of the world especially in developed countries efforts to bring out gender equality have been fruitful to a great extent, but still there are many issues in this regard that needs to be properly addressed. Gender equality is not completely achieved even in 21st century.

Thus a lot needs to be done even in 21st century especially in developing countries regarding provision of medical facilities to every citizen equally.

About the author

My name is Maimoona Maheen.  I come from Pakistan and I am a fourth year medical student.  I have previously written many articles on mental problems and nature.  I  am a frequent writer and have participated in many writing and poster competitions.  I have attended many workshops and currently doing researches on Hepatitis and ADHD.  I have also been in many organizing committees of international conferences.

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