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Postponed - an equal start? Social inequalities compromising the lives of mothers and children.

Time (GMT +01) 12:30 14:00


Dr Esther Richards - Research Assistant, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

Dr. Caroline Harper - Head of Programme, Social Development, ODI

Kitty Arie - Director of Advocacy, Save the Children UK


Kate Nustedt - UK Executive Director, Women for Women International


Across the world discrimination on the basis of gender results in the mistreatment and marginalisation of women. Gendered norms limit many women’s mobility, their ability to seek profitable employment, their household decision making power, and/or increase their vulnerability to violence. Each of these factors has a potent effect on a woman’s ability to seek healthcare, compromising not only her own health but that of her children. In addition gender directly affects child health; discriminatory social institutions such as ‘son bias’ can result in the deliberate infanticide of girl children, or more subtle forms of neglect such as preferential feeding for boys.

While it is well known that gender discrimination is both universally pervasive and deeply entrenched, how it actually compromises our chances of meeting the Millennium Development Goals is much less understood. Is gender discrimination slowing progress towards achieving these goals? How is it affecting our pursuit of MDGs 4 and 5 in particular?

This event will discuss new research from Save the Children, The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and ODI (with the Chronic Poverty Research Centre), on the impact of social inequalities, specifically gender discrimination, upon maternal and child health.

ODI will present recent work which has focused on the collection of formal and informal laws, norms and practices which underpin gendered discrimination and result in poverty and ill health for women and girls.   The analysis demonstrates the interlinked nature of discriminatory social institutions and thus the necessity for interlinked responses.  The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine will present a review of evidence on how different dimensions of gender relations impact on child survival, health and nutrition. Save the Children will present quantitative evidence on the impact of gender discrimination upon childhood mortality. This demonstrates the considerable cost of gender discrimination for progress towards MDGs 4 and 5 and our realisation of the UNSG’s Strategy on Maternal and Child Health - Every Women, Every Child.

Bringing together leading scholars and practitioners in the field, this event is an important opportunity to focus on some of the opportunities and solutions available to development actors with the aim of identifying those promising practices and innovative approaches which are helping to address social inequalities and their impact on health.