A woman’s right to the enjoyment of the highest standard of health must be guaranteed throughout her lifetime, equal to that of men. Women are affected by many of the same health conditions as men, but women experience them differently due to both genetics and the social construction of gender. Examples of social realities that have an adverse impact on women’s health include: impoverishment and economic dependence, gender-based violence and discrimination, and limited autonomy in life decision-making, especially sexual and reproductive life. 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 World Medical Association 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.