Physical, mental and financial autonomy are rights necessary for strong mental and physical health. Earning enough to live and getting easy access to birth control are especially pertinent challenges for women in the modern age. Numerous studies highlight the affect these subjects have on women’s health.
Unequal pay, declined quality of life
The Wayne County Department of Public Health in Michigan has attested to the strain of the pay gap on women. Their report, co-authored by Human Impact Partners and titled “Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of Gender Pay Inequity,” stated, “Even when you factor in time off for children and other differences between men and women, women’s pay is still inexplicably lower.”
Using examples of 10 occupations and statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, researchers predicted the impact of establishing equal pay between genders as beneficial not just for women, but families as well. For example, the increased income has the potential to decrease stress levels and waylay related dangers, such as “cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders, stroke, susceptibility to infection, musculoskeletal disorders, and maternal and child health outcomes.”
Better access to health insurance and care is also a factor for mental and physical well-being, the report determined.
Shawn M. Burn, Ph.D., a contributor with Psychology Today, agreed that businesses should conduct salary audits to ensure men and women are paid similar rates.
Contraceptive access and mental health
While there are relatively few studies on the direct effects of contraceptive access on mental health, Nava Ashraf from Harvard Business School, Marric Buessing with the Boston University School of Public Health and their colleagues opined that women in control of their fertility faced decreased levels of anxiety and depression.
Ashraf and company verified this through a study of 1,271 Zambian women. Subjects in the treatment group were guaranteed “free and immediate access to two long-term modern contraceptive methods with low failure rates” while the control group had to jump through the typical hoops to find birth control, such as waiting to see a medical professional and experiencing outages of contraceptive materials.
Women in the treatment group experienced improved mental health compared to the control group, especially when the females in question once relied on male-controlled methods of birth control.
Research has shown that when a society unfairly restricts resources from women, it can have a harmful impact on their health. Rights such as equal pay and uninhibited access to contraception are vital for women to live healthy and productive lives.
Sovereign Health of Arizona works to provide comfort to women dealing with trauma, including difficulties brought on by societal inequalities. Speak to an admissions specialist by calling our 24/7 helpline.
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