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A broader vision for women's health

At the 2023 Women Deliver Conference on July 17, an event that seeks to champion gender equality, the UN Women Executive Director, Sima Bahous, said “Our hopes and aspirations for a brighter, more sustainable, more equal, and more peaceful planet hang by a thread”.

This warning comes amid a relentless pushback against women's rights in many countries. Progress has come to a standstill—and in some cases, has even been reversed, from Afghanistan, where the Taliban has banned women and teenage girls from participating in many aspects of public life, to the USA, where access to abortion is increasingly being restricted. Geopolitical tensions, a climate emergency, and the global economic crisis post COVID-19 have added new challenges to achieving gender equality and to elevating the status of women in society.

The under-recognition of the value of women reflects outdated vision of women's health: a vision too focused on the reproductive role of women. As a result, health measures commonly used to monitor women's health represent only a small part of women's needs. It is time to update the vision of women's health.

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