Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

UNICEF study illustrates connection between empowerment of women and health of children

Children’s health is directly affected by the representation of women in household decisions, the BBC reported Monday. However, throughout most of the world, women have minimal input. A recent study by UNICEF found that children in families where women hold little to no sway in decisions tend to be malnourished.

Neutralizing the authority between men and women in families, particularly in developing countries, is vital to improving health and reducing poverty. The study indicated that if women had an equal say in their family’s health decisions, the number of malnourished children could decrease by 13 million in South East Asia alone.

Opportunities for women in the work-force are essential to this process. Employed women have a fiscal responsibility to the family, and consequently, hold more authority. The study found that in countries such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast when women make more money, their spending choices tend to directly affect the livelihood of their family. Whereas when men’s income rises, increased spending on these same resources is not apparent. Finally, women who hold positions in government tend to focus on issues regarding families and children.

However, in many places women do not receive these opportunities due to either lack of resources, such as education, or social stigmas. According to UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, “there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.”

For the full article, click here.


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