Sex refers to biological features that distinguish women from men. Gender is a social concept that characterizes the special norms, roles, power distribution and relations between women and men.
Gender inequality is at the root of unfair health outcomes for women and girls.
- The health of women and girls is affected by gender-related biological aspects, gender factors and other social determinants.
- Women have longer life expectancy than men. In 2016, global life expectancy at birth was 74.2 years for women and 69.8 years for men.
- At the same time, women are ill and use health services more than men, in particular due to their reproductive health needs.
- Non-communicable diseases remain the leading cause of death for women globally, with 18.9 million deaths worldwide in 2015.
- Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death for women. Cancers are the most common cervical and breast cancers, and lung cancer is the leading cause of death.
- Depression is more prevalent among women (5.1%) than men (3.6%). Unipolar depression is twice as likely to occur in women.
- Harm, including suicide, occurs throughout life and in 2016 was the second most important cause of death among women aged 15-29 globally.
- One in three women in the world is likely to experience physical and/or sexual violence throughout their lifetime.
- In conflict-affected and displaced areas, women and girls suffer disproportionately as a result of the disruption of health systems, poor access to health care and the use of rape and other forms of violence as a weapon of war.
- Some 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
- Women, especially girls aged 15-24, represent the majority of people living with HIV.
- In families and communities, women perform basic care functions.
- Women make up 70 percent of the world’s health and social workers, yet half of women’s contribution to global health comes in the form of unpaid care, equivalent to $3 trillion per year.