From the 7 March 2016 Brookings report
This Tuesday, March 8, marks the first International Women’s Day since world leaders agreed last September to launch the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030. A more rounded conception of gender equality marks one of the SDGs’ most important improvements compared to their predecessor Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Two SDG targets help to illustrate the broadening geopolitical recognition of the challenges. They also help to underscore how much progress is still required.
A renewed target: Protecting mothers’ lives
The SDGs are also carrying forward the previous MDG priority of maternal health. Target 3.1 aims as follows: “By 2030, reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100,000 live births.” Formally this falls under Goal 3 for health and wellbeing, but it certainly represents a gender equality objective too. Part of that is by definition; mothers are female. Part of it is driven by the need to overcome gender bias; male decision-makers at all levels might overlook key health issues with which they have no direct personal experience.
A new target: Eliminating child marriage
The inclusion of SDG target 5.3 adds one of the most important new priorities to the global policy agenda: to “eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage, and female genital mutilation.”
Can be downloaded for free!
A comprehensive reference with helpful charts and personal stories. The guide covers major diseases, aging mental health, reproductive health, nutrition and alternative medicine. It also provices advice on common screening tests and immunizations you may need. (Previous item number: 107W)
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
We think it’s a treat for our skin when we exfoliate, moisturize and polish, but are we actually making ourselves sick? A recent study estimates that the average woman wears 515 chemicals a day — from eye shadow ingredients linked to cancer to perfume ingredients linked to kidney damage.
The average American uses 10 products every day, and chances are, they don’t know what’s in them. Recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found extremely high levels of lead in lipstick. In addition, recent research from the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Working Group (EWG) showed that teenage girls are exposing themselves to potentially hormone-altering substances by engaging in that seemingly innocent coming-of-age tradition of applying makeup. Yet, despite the dangers, women need to bathe and groom — and most women like a little extra color on their faces. So what can you do to stay healthy and still look good?
“It’s simple: Read the labels and be a smart shopper,” says Leann Brown of EWG. “Buy from companies that disclose their formulations.” Since producers aren’t required to make their ingredients public, many choose not to. “A company that discloses all ingredients will have lower risk than cosmetics with mystery ingredients,” says Brown. These products are likely to be equally effective — your hair will be just as smooth, your cheeks just as bright — but without the lurking health hazards.
When shopping, there are a few key ingredients to be avoided. However, due to lax regulation, you may find them in products marked “organic” and “all-natural,” so be on the lookout. Here is a list of common toxic ingredients to avoid:
- FD&C Color Pigments
- Alcohol (Isopropyl)
- Propylene Glycol
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
This research information is for informational and educational purposes only. Please consult a health care professional regarding the applicability of any opinion or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and no statement should be construed as a claim for cure, treatment or prevention of any disease.
Compliments of Kshamica Nimalasuriya MD, MPH
Preventive Medicine & Public Health
Kshamica Nimalasuriya MD, MPH is a Preventive Medicine Physician involved with merging Media with Health, Open-Source Education, Herbal Medicine, Fitness, Nutrition, Wellness, and Love. She works on many initiatives bridging the global digital divide of health care education.
Cosmetics Dictionary (with ratings)
From their About Page
“It’s our mission at Environmental Working Group to use the power of information to protect human health and the environment. EWG’s Skin Deep database gives you practical solutions to protect yourself and your family from everyday exposures to chemicals. We launched Skin Deep in 2004 to create online safety profiles for cosmetics and personal care products. Our aim is to fill in where industry and government leave off. Companies are allowed to use almost any ingredient they wish. The U.S. government doesn’t review the safety of products before they’re sold. Our staff scientists compare the ingredients on personal care product labels and websites to information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases. Now in its eighth year, EWG’s Skin Deep database provides you with easy-to-navigate safety ratings for a wide range of products and ingredients on the market. At about one million page views per month, EWG’s Skin Deep is the world’s largest personal care product safety guide.”
Search for “cosmetics from an environmental angle”
It’s Your Health – Cosmetics and Your Health
Government of Canada website. Health Canada’s cosmetic and personal care site regulates manufacturer labelling, distribution and sale of cosmetics.
Safety information from the FDA on various cosmetic products provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Myths on Cosmetics Safety (zen-haven.com)
- Common cosmetics use can negatively impact the environment as well as the user (womennewsnetwork.net)
- Don’t believe everything you read (Part 2) (bumblebeelanesoapworks.wordpress.com)
- How to Avoid ‘Fake Naturals’ (ediblefacial.com)
- It hurts to smell nice! (nourishment3.com)
- DIY: All Natural Home Air Freshener (domestocrat.net)
- ‘Good’ Looks? (somethingtoconsiderblog.com)
- There Are Toxins In My Lotion? (almostallthetruth.com)
- Danger, High SPF! (imperfectlypoised.com)
- Johnson & Johnson admits: Our baby products contain cancer-causing formaldehyde (ascendingstarseed.wordpress.com)
From the Web site
The WomanStats Project is the most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women in the world. The Project facilitates understanding the linkage between the situation of women and the security of nation-states. We comb the extant literature and conduct expert interviews to find qualitative and quantitative information on over 310 indicators of women’s status in 174 countries. Our Databaseexpands daily, and access to it is free of charge.
The Project began in 2001, and today includes six principal investigators at five universities, as well as a team of up to twenty graduate and undergraduate data extractors. Please learn more by clicking First Time Users and watching our Video Tutorials. Or visit our Blog, where we discuss what we are finding, view our Maps, or read our Researchreports.
First Time Users
Welcome to the WomanStats Database, the world’s most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women.
The best way to acquaint yourself with the database and how to use it is to watch our Video Tutorials for beginners. The first video tutorial explains how to create a free account. The second teaches how to use the codebook and retrieve data from the View screen. The third covers reports, downloads, and maps. The fourth introduces you to other aspects of our web presence, such as our blog and social media.
From a recent CAPHIS** listserv item
As part of a project funded by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and
Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and the State of Illinois, Department of Human
Services, a number of multilingual educational materials are being
They cover nutrition and health during and after pregnancy,
as well as during infancy and early childhood. These resources may be
especially helpful for WIC programs who serve refugee populations. These
free materials are available as web-videos and audio files in English,
Nepali and Burmese. Arabic and Bhutanese versions are under
development. Written handouts for all languages are also under
These new materials can be found under the
Pregnancy/Reproduction and Food/Nutrition topics on the Healthy Roads
Media website – www.healthyroadsmedia.org
As always, any feedback to help guide the development of these kinds
of resources is very helpful.
These lists of resources expand upon the MLA Top Ten List.
Advertising and marketing folks with questionable ethics are geniuses at figuring out how to play on our insecurities!
Somehow I got through menopause rather seamlessly without annoying hot flashes. I do wonder what I would have done if I had to deal with menopausal symptoms that interfered with daily activities. What would I have tried or resorted to?
As noted below, menopause (a natural condition) has most likely been medicalized. This is resulting in over treatment and incorrect treatments. Recently I posted on a similar topic,Resist the urge to label everything a disease. How one views menopause will effect how it is “treated”!
As an aside, it has been almost 40 years since Our Bodies, Ourselves*** was first published. I remember reading it (at age 16 or so). It was downright scary in my mind, women taking charge of their bodies, health, and more. Will never forget one of the images…with the speculum I am strong!
And here we are with marketers and others still trying their best to “take care” of us, addressing symptoms but not fostering empowerment. Yikes!
The Associated Press reported this week on the marketing of a new line of menopause products – “a line of products that target 50 million American women who are or will soon go through menopause. Priced between $3.99 and $7.99, the line includes lubricant for vaginal dryness, panty freshener stickers and feminine wash for odor and cooling towelettes and roll-on gel for women having hot flashes.” Excerpt:
Feminine washes are usually not recommended by many doctors, says Dr. Lauren F. Streicher, a gynecologist and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. And products that mask vaginal odor could cause people to not treat what is causing that symptom in the first place, she added.
“The idea of covering it up with a freshener is an inappropriate approach,” Streicher said. “I’m thrilled people are paying attention, but I don’t want to see people taken advantage of.”
And USA Today reports:
But do we really need more products that suggest women, basically, stink? The new “daily freshness” products — like all the sprays, douches and fresheners before them — might actually be harmful, doctors say…
Also this week, Liz Scherer, on her Flashfree: Not Your Mama’s Menopause blog, wrote, “Politicizing Menopause.” Read the entire post for yourself. But I wanted to grab two excerpts:
- “Is it at all possible that menopause has been overpoliticized, medicalized and poorly characterized, a “phenomenon not so much hijacked by medicine as gradually occupied, [with] authorities throughout the ages grimly trying and failing to define their subject?” “
- “We’re drowning in politics, medicine and industry. And it’s difficult to discern truth from fiction, data from data, risk from benefit”
- *** Our Bodies, Ourselves Resource Center (excerpts from our books, web-exclusive content, links, resources, and health news.)
- Women’s Health (MedlinePlus) with links to overviews and related topics
- Women’s Health in Social Media (Webcina)
- ‘Poise’ expands to offer more menopause products (news.yahoo.com)
- ‘Poise’ Expands to Offer More Menopause Products (health.usnews.com)
- Do menopausal women need “freshening?” (yourlife.usatoday.com)
- Menopausal money spinner? Feminine hygiene brand launches new range of products for ‘hot flashes’ – but doctors say line is completely pointless (dailymail.co.uk)
- Poise to sell new menopause products (bangordailynews.com)
- ‘Poise’ expands to offer more menopause products (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Kimberly-Clark Wants Women to Talk About (and Spend Money on) Menopause [Menopause] (jezebel.com)
- ‘Poise’ expands to offer more menopause products (kansascity.com)
- ‘Poise’ expands to offer more menopause products (cnsnews.com)
Maternal Health and the Status of Women
Both globally and domestically, maternal health and the standing of women are inextricably linked. If women do not have the means and access to give birth safely, with trained and educated midwives, physicians and nurses, with appropriate prenatal education and care, it is often indicative of the standing of women in their communities and countries overall. Women’s inequality is also linked to the soaring population growth in developing countries, which will pose a range of new challenges for the next few generations.
Some may point to the United States as an anomaly, citing women’s increasing economic and financial independence, education, and leadership roles in America, while in terms of maternal health rankings, we remain pathetically far down the line for our resources (49 other countries are safer places to give birth than the U.S. – despite us spending more money on healthcare than anywhere else). Of course, the recent and incessant attacks on allowing women to access credible, accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education and services makes this statistic not entirely…surprising, shall we say.
So, I found the incredibly detailed and visually impressive infographic by the National Post, pulled from spectacular data and research done by Save the Children to be particularly fascinating. What they did was combine information on the health, economic, and education status of women to create overall rankings of the best and worst countries for women, splitting the countries into categories of more developed, less developed, and least developed, and the countries were ranked in relation to the other countries in their category (the divisions were based on the 2008 United Nations Population Division’s World Population Prospects, which most recently no longer classified based on development standing). While these divisions and the rankings can certainly be contentious and may incite some disagreement (nothing unusual there, these kind of rankings usually are), I thought the results were interesting. Some highlights – Norway is first, Somalia is last. The United States was 19th, and Canada was 17th (Estonia fell in between us and the Great White North) in the most developed. Israel is first in the less developed category, and Bhutan is first in the least developed category. The full report with data from Save the Children is also available, if you want to learn more about the information combined to make this image. Take a look:
A Woman’s Place – Courtesy of the National Post
One thing that I thought was particularly great was that the researchers combined women’s health and children’s heath data to create rankings specific to being a mother, when that category is sometimes only assessed based on access to reproductive care.The specific rankings of maternal health highlights largely mimics the overall standing of women, as seen here – Norway is number one, again, and Niger falls into last place:
Mother’s Index, Courtesy of Save the Children
I think these images and graphs are particularly moving given one of the top health stories coming out of the New York Times today, which showed that a recent Johns Hopkins study indicated meeting the contraception needs of women in developing countries could reduce maternal mortality (and thereby increase the standing of women in many of the nations doing poorly in the above ranking) globally by a third. When looking at the countries in the infographic that have low rates of using modern contraception and the correlation between that and their ranking in terms of status of women, it’s not surprising what the JH researchers found. Many of the countries farther down in the rankings have rates below 50%, and for those countries filling the bottom 25 slots, none of them even reach a rate that is a third of the population in terms of contraceptive use – which of course in most cases has to do with availability, not choice. Wonderfully, the Gates Foundation yesterday announced that they would be donating $1 billion to increase the access to contraceptives in developing countries.
Also of note, and in relation to maternal and newborn health, is a new study recently published by Mailman researchers that showed PEPFAR funded programs in sub-Saharan Africa increased access to healthcare facilities for women (particularly important for this region, as 50% of maternal deaths occur there), thereby increasing the number of births occurring in these facilities – reducing the avoidable (and sometimes inevitable) complications from labor and delivery, decreasing the chance of infection and increasing treatment if contracted. This has clear implications for children as well (and why I think this study relates to the National Post infographic and the NY Times article), since newborns are also able to be assessed by trained healthcare workers and potentially life-threatening conditions averted – including HIV, if the newborns have HIV+ mothers and need early anti-retroviral treatment and a relationship with a healthcare worker and system. And it goes without saying that if a new mother is struggling with post-delivery healthcare issues, including abscesses and fistulas, or was dealing with a high-risk pre-labor condition like preeclampsia, the child will have an increasingly difficult early life, perhaps even a motherless one.
- The Best And Worst Places In The World To Be A Woman (fastcoexist.com)
- Maternal health: India likely to miss milennium goals, says UN (thehindu.com)
- Contraceptive Use Averts 272,000 Maternal Deaths Worldwide (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- Mothers lose out (thehindu.com)
- 100,000 Women’s Lives Could Be Saved By Expanded Access To Contraception (thinkprogress.org)
- Rich countries pledge $2.6bn for family planning in global south (guardian.co.uk)
- Melinda Gates challenges Vatican by vowing to improve contraception (guardian.co.uk)
- Fulfilling Contraception Needs Could Lower Maternal Mortality Drastically, Study Says (nytimes.com)
- Maternal Mortality Rates Could Tank If We Meet Contraception Needs in Developing Countries [Contraception] (jezebel.com)
Can’t make the training? Guided help at the Web site (Look for the “Get Started Now” Box
The Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health has developed an important online tool: Quick Health Data Online. Quick Health Data Online contains extensive health data for the years 1998-2004 for the entire United States, and it will be updated on a yearly basis. National, regional, state, and county data are available and the data can be stratified by gender, race/ethnicity, and age concurrently.
The database includes statistics on:
- Access to care
- Infections and chronic disease
- Reproductive health
- Maternal health
- Mental health
- Violence and abuse
Quick Health Data Online 101
QHDO 101 will provide an overview on health indicators available, preparing custom queries, and generating tables, graphs, and basic maps.
- Monday, April 16: 3-4 p.m. (EST)
- Monday, May 14: 2-3 p.m. (EST)
- Tuesday, June 12: 1-2 p.m. (EST)
Quick Health Data Online 201
QHDO 201 will detail the comprehensive mapping features.
- Wednesday, April 18: 1-2 p.m. (EST)
- Wednesday, May 16: 2-3 p.m. (EST)
- Thursday, June 14: 3-4 p.m. (EST
Register today! (for the training) The toll-free conference call number and other details are provided at the registration site. You need to be at a computer with Internet access and a telephone.
Women in their seventies who exercise and eat healthy amounts of fruits and vegetables have a longer life expectancy, according to research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society….
…Researchers at the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University studied 713 women aged 70 to 79 years who took part in the Women’s Health and Aging Studies. This study was designed to evaluate the causes and course of physical disability in older women living in the community.
“A number of studies have measured the positive impact of exercise and healthy eating on life expectancy, but what makes this study unique is that we looked at these two factors together,” explains lead author, Dr. Emily J Nicklett, from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
Researchers found that the women who were most physically active and had the highest fruit and vegetable consumption were eight times more likely to survive the five-year follow-up period than the women with the lowest rates…
- Exercise and a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables extends life expectancy in women in their 70s (eurekalert.org)
- Popular Ways to Increase Life Expectancy (termlifeinsurance.org)
- Jogging increases life expectancy (toddlohenry.com)
- Study: New Jersey Residents Have Longest Life Expectancy In Nation (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Life spans in many U.S. counties compare to the poorest nations (kansascity.com)
- Regular jogging shows dramatic increase in life expectancy (esciencenews.com)
- 100 Years of Carrots? How Much Does Diet Really Affect Longevity? (organicauthority.com)
- Leaving the couch, eating more fruits and vegetables may lead to sustained … – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
etween juggling the joys and challenges of home life and staying productive at work, it’s easy for women to make quick decisions now that could affect their health later on, or to miss early signs of medical problems altogether.
To help you take control of your health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Women’s Health and the General Services Administration’s Federal Citizen Information Center created the free Healthy Women’s Action Kit. Get the information you need to:
- Manage your cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk for diabetes
- Stay safe using cosmetics and getting tattoos
- Recognize and avoid online health scams
- Confidently talk to your doctor about menopause and hormones
- Find the stop-smoking method that can work for you
- And more!
For the quickest service, just fill out the online order form below to get free kit(s) of publications for yourself and the women in your life. You can also order by mail or phone; just send your name and address to Healthy Women’s Action Kit, Pueblo, CO 81009 and add the quantity you want to order (up to 5 kits), or call (888) 8-PUEBLO (that’s 888-878-3256), weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Or you can read the publications online in PDF format, save them to your computer, and print them.
Why stop with just glancing at the information below? Maybe this is the time to take another small step to better health.
Maybe subscribing to the US Office on Women’s Health would be that step. (Left column at http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/)
These email updates have led me to recipes, health tips, and more.
For example, I’ve now been part of the Women’s Challenge to increase daily physical activity for about a year now. The Women’s Challenge is part of the President’s Challenge…exercising often to get point based virtual bronze, silver, gold, and platinum medals. At my rate, it will take about 15 years to go platinum, but it is a goal!
It’s your time!
National Women’s Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health. The theme for 2012 is “It’s Your Time.” National Women’s Health Week empowers women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages women to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:
- Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
- Get active.
- Eat healthy.
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.
- Fitness4Her Joins National Effort To Encourage Women To Make The Pledge For Health (prweb.com)
- Actress Andie MacDowell Campaigns For Women’s Health (fox2now.com)
- What Makes it Difficult to be Black, Female, and Healthy in America? Discover the Answers in “Health First! The Black Woman’s Wellness Guide” (prweb.com)
The brief’s key findings are:
- When economic times are good, deaths in the United States increase.
- Previous research suggests that a likely culprit is poorer health habits tied to greater job demands.
- However, the increase in mortality is largely driven by deaths among elderly women in nursing homes.
- These nursing home deaths may reflect increased shortages of caregivers during economic expansions.
- Death Rates Higher In Nursing Homes During Good Economy (nursingassistants.net)
The World’s Women and Girls 2011 Data Sheet : Overcoming Gender Equality is published by the Population Bureau, It contains global statistics relating to women’s health.
For example, in the section providing statistics from a range of several countries
- Percent of Women and Men Who Agree That Wife Beating Is Acceptable
- Household Decisions Made by Husbands Alone
- Prevalence of Early Marriage Around the World
- Births Assisted by a Skilled Provider, by Wealth Quintile
The demography/reproductive health table contains statistics by country in these areas
- Female population by age (<15, 15-49, >49)
- Percent of women ages 20-24 married by age 18
- Lifetime births per women
- Percent of women ages 15-19 giving birth in one year
- Percent of married women using contraception
- Percent of women giving birth by skilled personnel
- Maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, 2008
- Lifetime chance of dying from maternal causes ( 1 in ___)
- Abortion policy
- Percent of Adults (Male and Female) ages 14-49 with HIV/AIDS, 2009
The education/work & family life table includes
- literacy, primary school completion, and secondary school enrollment rates
- economically active, nonfarm wage earner, and parliament member percentages
Download a Fact Sheet aboutThe World’s Women and Girls 2011 Data Sheet (PDF: 508KB)
Download The World’s Women and Girls 2011 Data Sheet (PowerPoint: 512KB) Drawing on PRB’s The World’s Women and Girls 2011 Data Sheet, this PowerPoint presentation is designed to bring attention to and present accurate data on fertility, contraceptive use, early marriage, gender-based violence, and more. The presentation includes data comparisons within and among countries, as well as trends. Notes are included.
PRB Women’s Edition Journalists’ Stories, Features, and Photos on International Women’s Day from Malawi, Nigeria, and Pakistan