Being born female is dangerous for your health

Am Psychol. 2003 Mar;58(3):205-10. doi: 10.1037/0003-066x.58.3.205.


In this article, the author explores how gender inequity is manifested in poor reproductive and mental health outcomes, including unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, maternal mortality, sexually transmitted infections, depression, and psychosomatic symptoms. Briefly described is a landmark 1994 United Nations conference emphasizing that gender inequity adversely affects women's reproductive health, particularly in developing countries, and the implementation of its recommendations is tracked. Although there is increased recognition of oppression's toll on women's physical and emotional health as well as their intellectual and social potential, progress toward equity goals is uneven and slow. Psychologists as a group play many roles--for example, in research, education, policy, law, communications, industry, international development, and private practice--through which they can make professional contributions to gender equity as a focus or underlying principle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Psychophysiologic Disorders / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Women's Health*