SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
The highest attainable standard of health is a fundamental right of every person. Gender-based discrimination, however, undercuts this right. It can render women more susceptible to sickness and less likely to obtain care, for reasons ranging from affordability to social conventions keeping them at home.
Among women of reproductive age worldwide, AIDS is now the leading cause of death . Not only are women biologically more susceptible to HIV transmission, but their unequal social and economic status undercuts abilities to protect themselves and make empowered choices.
Countries have committed to universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, but many gaps have slowed progress so far. More than 225 million women have an unmet need for contraceptive methods . In developing regions, where maternal mortality rates are 14 times higher than in developed ones, only half of pregnant women receive the minimum standard for antenatal care .
Fulfilling the right to health requires health systems to become fully responsive to women and girls, offering higher quality, more comprehensive and readily accessible services. Societies at large must end practices that critically endanger women’s health and well-being—among them, all forms of gender-based violence.
UN Women advances women’s well-being and health by working with governments to improve the provision of health services for women and girls, including survivors of violence, and backing non-governmental partners in filling gaps. The entity strives to end practices that endanger women and girls, such as child marriage, female genital cutting, dietary restrictions and others. The programmes help meet women’s health needs during medical humanitarian crises, restoring confidence in maternal and child health services in the wake of Ebola virus disease in West Africa. We also support and empower women living with HIV and AIDS.
Dying to live: the gender dimension of child mortality in India
Sharing the voices of Indian women, a new UN Women report details work towards meeting MDG targets and sheds light on the issue of female infanticide, son preference and violence against women.
Rural women access early cancer screening in Turkey
After receiving UN Women training on gender-responsive budgeting, a municipality in central Turkey analysed their public services and realized that women living outside the city could not access free cancer diagnosis and screening services. They now reach thousands of rural women with education and free transportation to screening centres.
 World Health Organization (2014), Fact Sheet No. 334.
 United Nations Population Fund (2014), Adding it up: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Health, p. 10.
 United Nations (2015), The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, p. 9.