Women’s rights are human rights, but millions of women worldwide cannot access the health services they require, and this prevents them from participating fully in society.
A lot of the statistics are stark. For example, women with disabilities are three times less likely to get the health care they need, when compared to men without disabilities. Women and girls with disabilities have also been consistently neglected in sexual and reproductive health policies and programmes.
When it comes to eye care, women have poorer access to services than men, and are more likely to be blind or have a visual impairment. Without action, women will continue to go blind in greater numbers than men.
That’s why on International Women’s Day, on 8 March, we’re calling for health care to be accessible and disability-inclusive for women and girls.
Sightsavers works with partners across Africa and Asia to challenge negative stereotypes, dismantle the barriers that stop women and girls from accessing health care, and develop programmes in collaboration with women’s organisations to ensure equity and address gender-specific issues.
Social, cultural and geographical barriers women face in many countries include a lack of decision-making power and financial independence, as well as traditional roles and caregiving requirements that make it challenging for women to seek care.
This International Women’s Day, Sightsavers is launching ‘A Woman’s Place’ to help raise awareness about some of the challenges faced by women, celebrate the individuals who are making an impact and call for further collective action to make healthcare more inclusive. We chose to use the phrase ‘A Woman’s Place’ to help subvert and challenge some of the stereotypes about women and girls because we believe that a woman’s place should be wherever she wants it to be.