Women and Health

Women's right to the highest standard of health


A Woman’s right to the enjoyment of the highest standard of health must be guaranteed throughout her lifetime, in full equality with that of men. Women are affected by many of the same health conditions as men, but women experience them differently. The prevalence among women of poverty and economic dependence, their experience of violence, negative attitudes towards them, racial and other forms of discrimination, the limited power many women have over their sexual and reproductive lives, and lack of influence in decision-making are social realities that have an adverse impact on women’s health. Good health is essential to leading a productive and fulfilling life of dignity, and the right of all women to control all aspects of their health, in particular their own fertility, is fundamental to their freedom and empowerment.

In article 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979), State Parties commit to “1. (…) take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning.”

The WMA is committed to working towards the eradication of the obstacles that prevent women worldwide from fully claiming their right to the highest attainable standard of health.