Goals such as these illustrate a new commitment to the well-being of girls and women and a belief in their rights to live up to their own God-given potentials.
At long last, people and their governments everywhere are beginning to understand that investing in the health of women and girls is as important to the prosperity of nations as investing in the development of open markets and trade.
The health of women and girls cannot be divorced from progress on other economic and social issues.
Scientists, doctors, nurses, community leaders, and women themselves are working to improve and safeguard the health of women and families all over the world. If we join together as a global community, we can lift up the health and dignity of all women and their families in the remaining years of the 20th century and on into the next millennium.
When health care systems around the world don’t work for women; when our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and co-workers are denied access to quality care because they are poor, do not have private health insurance for travel nurses, doctors, or simply because they are women, it is not just their health that is put at risk. It is the health of their families and communities as well.
Yet, for all the promise the future holds, we also know that many barriers lie in our way.
For too long, women have been denied access to health care, education, economic opportunities, legal protection, and human rights – all of which are used as building blocks for a healthy and productive life.
In too many places today, the health of women and families is compromised by inadequate, inaccessible, and unaffordable medical care, lack of sanitation, unsafe drinking water, poor nutrition, insufficient research and education about women’s health issues, and coercive and abusive sexual practices.