March 8: Celebrating women!

February 18th, 2015

Every year on March 8, we celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s a date which is symbolic of the fight for gender equality, and an occasion to recognize all those men and women who have contributed to the advancement of women’s rights. It’s also a time, even in 2015, to call for change.

Gender inequality and HIV/AIDS

Throughout the world, nearly the same number of women as men are afflicted with HIV. But behind these statistics hide a number of differences. Some are biological, making women more susceptible to contracting HIV than men. For the most part though, differences stem from gender-based socio-economic inequality. Certain societal norms like polygamy, lack of access to education and employment, and financial dependence converge to ensure that women are significantly more vulnerable to HIV than men.

A better understanding of how social factors play into the epidemic – for women and men – has made it clear that we need to attack these root causes of the disease. Education, access to employment, income level, access to healthcare and social services, etc. are all key issues to be addressed in the response to HIV. The same holds true for improving women’s rights around the world, from combating sexual violence, to fighting the imbalance of power in male/female relationships.


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