MADRID – A France-based medical non-profit launched on Tuesday a campaign warning that although women enjoy a longer lifespan than men, they also suffer worse overall health, as one in three women may have suffered sexual violence or are more exposed to sexually transmitted diseases, which they describe as a “social virus.”
The Medecins du monde campaign defines the so-called EVA virus as a social disease affecting women due to its gender-based nature and has called on the World Health Organization to combat this pandemic, which they say places the health of half the planet’s population (3.7 billion people) at risk.
“If it was a biological virus, we would be talking of a phase VI alert, of a pandemic scale,” MdM’s Virus EVA campaign said.
“If it was a virus, it could very well be called Eva,” the organization added, in reference to the mythical archetype in Abrahamic religions of the first woman ever created, Eve.
MdM has penned a petition to the WHO urging the United Nations agency to mobilize all its resources and efforts to face the consequences of gender inequality and its impact on female wellbeing, as well as further develop a public health system better focused on women’s needs over their lifetimes.
According to the group, women are far more exposed to sexual violence; a staggering 35 percent of them have been victims or may suffer it in the future.
The campaign also argues that female mental health is intimately linked to gender violence and gender barriers found within the health system.
The NGO claims self-inflicted injuries in women, including suicide, rose to the second-most frequent reason of death worldwide in 2015 within the female 15-29 age group.
Regarding pregnancy and birth risks, MdM said that 800 women die every day due to easily preventable causes during pregnancy, totaling 300,000 cases per year.
In addition, female mutilation – a practice still present in at least 30 countries – along with forced child marriages, constitute serious health risks.