Every day, misogyny kills women around the globe in two ways: directly through violence and indirectly through apathy, said David A. Grimes, MD, clinical professor of ob-gyn at University School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, who delivered his lecture “Misogyny and Women’s Health” today at The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ 59th Annual Clinical Meeting.
According to Dr. Grimes, women are dying needlessly because societies just don’t value them. Examples of misogyny—literally “hatred of women”—range from lack of equal treatment to emotional and physical abuse to murder. “Maltreatment of women has been institutionalized by governments and religions for millennia,” said Dr. Grimes. “This maltreatment often manifests itself as domestic violence, rape, rape as an instrument of warfare, sexual harassment, child marriage, and ‘honor killings’,” he said.
It’s not just third world countries where women continue to suffer, according to Dr. Grimes. “You don’t have to look outside the boundaries of this country—women in the US also suffer from the effects of misogyny.”
Dr. Grimes pointed out some sobering statistics from the World Health Organization. The prevalence of domestic violence worldwide is between 15-71% and abuse during pregnancy occurs among 4-12% of women. Up to one in every five women is sexually abused as a child. Nearly a quarter of Peruvian women and 40% of South African women experience a forced first intercourse. Honor killings take the lives of 5,000 women each year.
Approximately 343,000 women worldwide die each year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth, an average of one death every other minute, said Dr. Grimes. Nearly all of these deaths are preventable. Notably, half of these maternal deaths occur in just six countries (Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan). These societies have yet to make the decision that these women’s lives are worth saving, he said.
By ACOG – May 2nd, 2011