I just read this article by Rukmini S published in The Hindu. Thought it is worth sharing. Gender inequity prevails almost across all countries and one of its major violent manifestation is rape or violating the modesty of a woman. Though media reports these cases on a daily basis but except it nothing has really changed on the ground level.
Poverty is a primary determinant of poor health for both men and women. It has a particular impact on women’s health. 2out of 3 women around the world presently suffers from anemia, malnutrition,severe fatigue, increased probability of infections and premature death. Poverty and poor nutrition results in high level of anemia in pregnant women, unattended deliveries often in unhygienic conditions lead towards infections and complications. Poor women face unavailability of affordable health care post delivery, to ensure that she and the child pull through the first few hours and days.
The absence of safe drinking water and sanitation facilities have a direct bad impact on them, specially in the case of pregnant women. Women are more prone to cervical and breast cancer. One women dies every 8 minutes due to complications arising due to pregnancy such as Sepsis, hemorrhage and obstructed labor. These deaths could be avoided if there is timely medical intervention.With advances in Science and medical care HIV infected mothers have an option to keep the child in their womb unaffected. But it is not possible for poor mothers suffering from HIV due to high cost.
Women’s gynecological and urological organs share a close relationship anatomically and physiologically. Any disorder affecting one of this may give rise to symptoms in the other, complicating the diagnosis.. The pelvic floor or lower region of the pelvic area is made up of tissues, muscles and bones. These 3 keep the urinary organs in place. Pregnancy and child birth stretches these to maximum and improper care during this crucial period may result in loosening of the natural support and prolapse of the organ fitted just above. Uncontrollable loss of urine or feces, sexual dysfunction, descents of uterus and protrusion of the bladder and rectum are some of the manifestations of urogynecological ailments.
A pan India survey conducted recently by a Bangalore based institution for social and economic change establishes the fact that women from the lower economic strata are more vulnerable to premature menopause than their more priviliged counterparts.
The physical, emotional and mental stress on Indian women due to changing dynamics of Indian family coupled with lack of proper nutrition and education play havoc with female hormones, resulting in a skewed menstrual pattern. Mood swings, decreased libido, osteoporosis are also caused by this hormone dip.
For the poor the choice is between health care in private systems [that are beyond their reach] or death. Women disproportionately suffer from mental health disorders and are more frequently subject to social causes that lead to mental illness and psycho social distress. The origin of it can be traced to the social circumstances of many women’s lives. Depression, hopelessness, exhaustion, anger, and fear grow out of hunger, overwork, domestic and civil violence, entrapment and economic dependance.
According to UNESCO’s report on Kenya and some other developing and undeveloped countries where the poverty ratio is quite high, poor women and girls use cotton or woolen clothes including socks, tissue paper,pages torn from the notebooks, pieces of sponge from mattresses during menstrual periods as pads are not available everywhere. The reason is low sales of pads as the price is very high. It cannot be afforded by lower economic strata women. 70 % women don’t use sanitary napkins in such cases.
They prefer the money to be invested on food for their family instead of their sanitary health. But nowadays, by the efforts of governments, NGO’s, Social welfare or health campaign programs, women activist organizations.
There has never been a time from the dawn of human civilization to the present when women have been involved in sports, as participants and as spectators but not as much as men have. Are sports then a ‘male domain’ , a ‘masculine preserve’ ? Are the women in sports ‘unwelcome intruders’ ?
In a conservative society like India, married and unmarried women have to face objections and controversies while pursuing career in sports. Even if they win they are not given the due credit for their work as compared to men. The Indian women’s hockey team won a championship but was not given any monetary reward. [The Times of India, 21january,2010. Over the ILO’s report]. Though socio cultural factors account for gender differences, but this mindset is not only limited to India, but is sensed throughout the whole world.
Advertisements in sports section deal with commodities like shaving products, auto tyres, clothing and other items whose purchase is ordinarily decided by men. But the question stands still, that why such huge difference prevails ande still uncurbed. The following reasons may be a contributor :
1] It has been found by studies that female athletes are likely to be more aggressive than the women engaged in non competitive forms of recreation.
2] In 1890’s, even the medical experts debated on the issue that whether tough exercises endangered a girl’s capacity to conceive and bear children.
3] Sports historian such as Hening Eichberg and various feminist scholars used to say that menstruation, pregnancy, child birth, lactation and menopause create a different mindset for women.
But the times are changing now. 1920’s and 1930’s are regarded as ‘the golden era osf sports’. Even in 1895, Bergman ostenberg [of physical training college] who is known as female Darwinist commented that- “I try to train my girls to help raise their own sex and so to accelerate the progress of the race….for unless the women are strong, healthy, pure and true how can the race progress ? ”
Besides these reasons, a suburban wife in her thirties and forties is expected to remain physically attractive and sports are seen as a medium to stay fit . Nowadays more and more middle class wives and mothers are participating in sports as compared to their earlier generations. studies also show that those women participate more in sports who have the same family background and thus more talent is coming out.
The exploitation of female athletes for the enjoyment of the spectator, commercial advantage is being checked strictly by various women’s divisions organizations and feminist groups. In these positive changes the role played by media cant be neglected . Women sports magazines publication number is increasing day by day, as well as the broadcasting time of women sports is also increased as compared to the past.
Apart from serving as sports staff, women have also succeeded as observers, writers and interviewers according to their abilities. Thus women must be freed from their cultural constraints in order to finally realize their potential.
Women sports [Author : Allen Guttmann]
Emotional intelligence [Author : Daniel Goleman]