Gender Equity and Health: Evaluating the Impact of Millennium Development Goal Three on Women's Health in South Asia

GD Shannon, DD Im, L Katzelnick, OH Franco Duran

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Researchers evaluated the progress of Millennium Development Goal Three, which promotes gender equity and empowering women, by assessing the targets for education, employment, and government, and their relation to women's health in South Asia. Methods: Researchers obtained data from the United Nations, Inter-Parliamentary Union, International Labor Organization, World Bank, and World Health Organization. First, they performed a literature review including manuscripts that quantified a Millenium Development Goal Three outcome in South Asia and were published after 1991. They derived women's health outcomes from World Health Organization databases. Spearman's rank test was used to evaluate the relationship between change in gender parity and change in women's health outcomes. Results: South Asia's average primary education Gender Parity Index (defined as the ratio of girls to boys enrolled in primary, secondary, and tertiary education and expressed as a value between 0 and 1.0) improved from 0.73 (SD 0.34) to 0.92 (SD 0.13) between 2000 and 2008. Secondary and tertiary education had a lower Gender Parity Index (average 2008 Gender Parity Index 0.87 (SD 0.21) and 0.59 (SD 0.23), respectively), but had also improved from 2000 (average Gender Parity Index = 0.77, SD 0.38) to 2008 (average Gender Parity Index = 0.52, SD 0.11). An average proportion of 22.1% (SD 12.58) of women participated in waged, non-agricultural employment and 16.6% (SD 10.3) in national parliaments. No clear association was found between change in gender equity and women's health in South Asia between 2000 and 2008. Conclusion: Some progress has been made toward gender equity in South Asia, although the results have been mixed and inequities persist, especially in employment and government. While gender equity does not appear to have been related to female health outcomes, both must be addressed simultaneously as priority development targets and remain prerequisites to achieving the overall Millennium Development Goals. [Supplementary material is available for this article. Go to the publisher's online edition of Women & Health for the following resource: addition tabulated data and statistical analysis]
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)217-243
Number of pages27
JournalWomen & Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-01-64-03

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