Smoking rates among men tend to be 10 times higher than women. However, due to recent aggressive tobacco marketing campaigns aimed at women, tobacco use among younger females in developing countries is rising rapidly. Women generally have less success in quitting the habit, have more relapses than men, and nicotine replacement therapy may be less effective among women.
Women and girls continue to face gender-based vulnerabilities that require urgent attention – especially in sub-Saharan Africa where 80% of all women living with HIV are located. Improving women and girls access to antiretroviral therapy, HIV and testing and a range of care, treatment and support services (such as screening for cervical cancer or CD4 count diagnoses) requires specific targets and benchmarks for women and girls.
Between 15% and 71% of women around the world have suffered physical or sexual violence committed by an intimate male partner at some point in their lives. The abuse cuts across all social and economic backgrounds. Violence has serious health consequences for women, from injuries to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, depression and chronic diseases.
Some studies show that up to 1 in 5 women reports being sexually abused before the age of 15.
Even though early marriage is on the decline, an estimated 100 million girls will marry before their 18th birthday over the next 10 years. This is one third of the adolescent girls in developing countries (excluding China). Young married girls often lack knowledge about sex and the risks of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.
About 14 million adolescent girls become mothers every year. More than 90% of these very young mothers live in developing countries.
Every day, 1600 women and more than 10 000 newborns die from preventable complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Almost 99% of maternal and 90% of neonatal mortalities occur in the developing world.
Insecticide treated nets (ITNs) reduce malaria cases in pregnant women and their children. When women earn an income, they are more likely than men to buy the nets for their households. However, use of the nets is often linked to sleeping patterns that sometimes preclude actual use by women.
In most countries women tend to be in charge of cooking. When they cook over open fires or traditional stoves, they breathe in a mix of hundreds of pollutants on a daily basis. This indoor smoke is responsible for half a million of the 1.3 million annual deaths due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among women worldwide. In comparison, only about 12% of COPD deaths among men each year are related to indoor smoke. During pregnancy, exposure of the developing embryo to such harmful pollutants may cause low birth weight or even stillbirth.
Once thought to occur mainly in wealthier countries, the health impacts of cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, depression and other mental, neurological and substance abuse (MNS) disorders are increasingly felt by women globally. In fact, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) account for 80% of deaths among adult women in high-income countries; 25% of deaths among adult women in low-income countries are attributable to NCD. (Source: http://www.who.int)