Actress and humanitarian Ashley Judd, Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology Executive Director Dr. Paula Johnson, and other leaders from the global health and development field have brought the importance of women to the fore on the second full day of Spotlight Health at the Aspen Ideas Festival.
While the speakers discussed the challenges women face globally and how these negative factors directly contribute to wide-ranging issues such as poverty, inequality, and a declining environment, they also focused on how women are key to the solutions. Here are three main takeaways from the day-long series of panels:
1. Gender-based violence causes substantial acute and chronic health problems for women globally.
United Nations Undersecretary General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Johnson discussed how both direct violence and violation of women’s rights is systemic around the world, highlighting underrepresentation in leadership as a key obstacle to reducing the prevalence of violence against women.
Violence is the #1 correlate of chronic disease in women in the U.S. – Dr Paula Johnson @aspenideas #spotlighthealth pic.twitter.com/pV72qn6Gnb
— Misan Rewane (@misanrewane) June 27, 2015
There are a places in the world where being women and girls is more dangerous than being a soldier @phumzileunwomen #aspenideas
— Shikoh (@shikohtwit) June 27, 2015
Judd offered a compelling vision of how to address gender-based violence in communities around the world, including strong female-to-female alliances.
Move sex trafficking victims out of the penal system and into social services. –@AshleyJudd #spotlighthealth pic.twitter.com/Z45mEjdU0H
— PSI (@PSIimpact) June 27, 2015
What I'm taking from amazing @AshleyJudd is if you want culture change, must tackle darkest parts of our culture head on #SpotlightHealth
— Emmy Ganos (@emmyganos) June 27, 2015
Access to health is the foundation of all sustainability. –@ashleyjudd #SpotlightHealth
— Susan Promislo (@susanpromislo) June 27, 2015
2. Women drive development outcomes at the community level.
Abraham Leno, an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow and American Refugee Committee country representative, emphasized that communities must be treated as experts in the development profession. Women are key stakeholders to local development outcomes, particularly in agriculture.
It's about time in development we start to look at communities as experts. – @Abrahamleno #SpotlightHealth pic.twitter.com/VkR8M1sqK3
— Aspen Ideas Festival (@aspenideas) June 27, 2015
3. Women are already leading the course to improve health outcomes for women.
In addition to several female global health leaders — change agents in their fields — speaking on and participating in today’s panel discussions, New Voices Fellow and Kopano Mobaso won the Aspen Ideas Award for Spotlight Health for her project to bring lifesaving antenatal care to pregnant women in rural areas of low-income countries. The “Ona-Mototo-Lako” (see your baby) Project identifies high-risk pregnancies through ultrasonography and screening to reduce maternal and newborn deaths.
Winner of the #aspenideas award! @kopanomabaso @AspenInstitute @aspenideas pic.twitter.com/aDJCPBDVCG
— Katie Drasser (@KatieDrasser) June 27, 2015
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