Gender inequality in the spread of HIV AIDS Essay

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In December 2002, Kofi Annan, the Secretary General of the United Nations at the clip wrote in the New York Times, “ AIDS has a adult female ‘s face ” ( 2002 ) . Women constitute 57 per centum of infections in sub-Saharan African states that are sing HIV epidemics ( UNAIDS Report 2004 ) . “ Furthermore in sub-Saharan Africa, immature adult females aged 15 to 24 are more than three times every bit likely to be infected as immature work forces ” ( UNAIDS Report 2004 ) . In this essay I will reason, with an accent on sub-Saharan Africa that the feminised epidemic that is taking topographic point is being exacerbated mostly due to Gender Inequality. I will reason this is the instance because this is because adult females are socially, economically, and culturally more vulnerable to infection than work forces. Prevalent issues such as adult females ‘s fiscal dependance on work forces, both physical and sexual maltreatment from their spouses and the fact that it is customary for males to hold multiple spouses are cardinal gender facets that are important to the spread of HIV/AIDS in the part. I will get down by specifying what is meant by Gender Inequality and why it is of import in this context and so see the grounds with an accent on impressions of maleness and muliebrity to explicate why the proportion of adult females being infected is lifting. However, although this essay will chiefly concentrate on adult females, it is of import to observe the gender aspects associating to the spread of HIV amongst work forces, in peculiar the force per unit area to execute and fulfill multiple sexual spouses. Throughout the essay I will associate the issue of gender inequality to the subjects of globalization, poorness and administration and leading whilst giving mention to the illustrations of Nigeria, Uganda and South Africa to back up my statement. So what precisely is gender inequality and why is it of import? When speaking about gender inequality in sub-Saharan Africa, the issue is clear. Tallis relates the term best, noting that we are “ analyzing the place and position of adult females in relation to the place of work forces and the place of other adult females ” ( 2000: 59 ) . The importance of gender inequality can non be underestimated as it is apparent at all phases of the prevention-care continuum. Gender inequality is possibly the chief job country hindering HIV/AIDS bar ( Tallis 2000: 60 ) . Furthermore, studies by several non-governmental organisations such as UNESCO, the UNAIDS Inter-Agency Task Team on Education and the Global Campaign for Education “ recognize that gender issues are cardinal to the job of HIV and AIDS ” ( Oxfam 2008: 11 ) . It is undisputed in the specialist HIV/AIDS field that gender functions and unequal gender dealingss are fuelling the epidemic by rendering adult females vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. Gender inequality is most normally seen in impressions of maleness and muliebrity across African societies. In South Africa, civilization is by and large male-dominated, with adult females traditionally given a lower societal position. “ Men are socialised to believe that adult females are inferior and should be under their control ; adult females are socialised to over-respect work forces and act deferentially towards them ” ( Health24 2009 ) . In add-on to their lower position, black African adult females by and large have “ less entree to safe lodging and are frequently dependent on their male spouses as breadwinners for support ” ( Petros 2006: 72 ) . Sexual activity, for case continues to this twenty-four hours to be defined “ chiefly in footings of male desire with adult females being the comparatively inactive receivers of these passions ” ( Seidel 2000 ) .Dr. Seggasne Musisi, caput of psychiatric audience at Mulago Hospital relates efficaciously the psychological science of sexual behavior in Uganda. “ Control of sexual dealingss is strictly with work forces. Womans have no cultural or legal power to either promote or command their sexual wellness ” ( Human Rights Watch 2003 ) . In these male-dominated societies, the hazard of HIV/AIDS is exacerbated farther by hazardous sexual practise, both by work forces and by adult females ( which will be discussed subsequently ) . Traditionally work forces are accustomed to hold multiple spouses and rehearse sex outside of a relationship, yet even suspected unfaithfulness on a adult female ‘s portion is socially unacceptable and can easy ensue in force or societal exclusion ( Ackerman and de Klerk 2002: 169 ) . Misconceptions of contraceptive usage in African societies merely worsen the state of affairs. Womans are mostly afraid to present topic of contraceptive protection for fright of domestic force either for surmising their hubbies of holding adulterous personal businesss or because they might be accused of criminal conversation ” ( Human Rights Watch 2003 ) . Margaret Namusisi, 25 old ages old from Uganda explains the response when she asked her hubby to have on a rubber. “ When I tell him to utilize a rubber he refuses. He accuses me of holding other work forces. ” ( Human Rights Watch 2003 ) There was besides the concern from adult females that if they asked to utilize rubbers during sex, it would take to force or fiscal forsaking ( World Health Organization 2003 ) . Namusisi remarks on the reaction she faces when she refuses to hold sex without protection, “ He goes off and does n’t supply. So I have sex with him so that he can look after the kids and wo n’t contend ” ( Human Rights Watch 2003 ) Globalisation and national economic policies have played a major function in rising bing gender inequalities, increasing the economic dependance adult females have on their spouses. The World Health organisation has repeatedly criticized the impact globalisation has had in sub- Saharan Africa, send oning Nigeria as an illustration. It argues that, in Nigeria, globalization has benefited the rich ( largely work forces ) but penalised the hapless, less educated, low skilled or unemployed autumn within this other group, which relate to adult females ( 1990 ) . “ What this equates to is that the mean Nigerian adult female finds it progressively difficult to go forth opprobrious or hazard based relationships because of increased economic dependance ” ( Zierler and Krieger 1998: ) . Heavy unfavorable judgment has been levelled besides at the Structural Adjustment Program that was incorporated into developing states. Despite the many benefits that Structural Adjustment Programmes provide to developing states such as constructing up economic systems and altering national legislative assembly in order to make an environment more unfastened to incoming investing from abroad ; SAPs have many defects. PrimarilySAPs the chief defect affects the supply and the demand for wellness services through wellness disbursement cuts and besides by cut downing household income, which leaves people with less money for necessary intervention. ( World Health Organization ) . Yet many are denied entree to allow preventative and healing services particularly in parts of the universe where their demands are greatest. “ As the epidemic has progressed, adult females have taken increasing duty for those who are ill or orphaned by AIDS yet they have been allowed small influence over the relevant policy and planning determinations ” ( Doyal in Tallis 2000:87 ) . It is of import to observe that this is non entirely the instance in Nigeria, but in the bulk of sub- Saharan Africa where “ poorness affects 315 million people and one in two of people in Sub Saharan Africa survive on less than one dollar per twenty-four hours ” ( Food4Africa 2011 ) What SAPs and the aforesaid factors produce a society where poorness drives “ Women fall backing to progressively hazardous sexual behavior as portion of multiple support schemes ” ( Ahonsi 1999 ) Entering harlotry is non a personal pick in many instances but the “ last resort of adult females who have been structurally disadvantaged in every manner and left with no other resource but their organic structures ” ( Schoepf 1998: 65 ) . It is widely recognised that work forces will pay more to hold sex without a rubber, which the sex workers find hard to decline due to their fiscal jobs. Furthermore, with the HIV/AIDS epidemic concentrated in the poorest parts of the universe with 90 % of HIV positive instances populating in the underdeveloped universe UNAIDS/WHO ( 1997 ) ; it is critical to hold constitutional guidelines to safeguard the population from the turning epidemic. The deficiency of both extended guidelines and execution of processs within national fundamental laws for extended responses to HIV/AIDS leads to state of affairs where gender inequality will necessarily decline For case the Nigerian Constitution legislates for the protection of human rights but “ there is a demand to make expressed benchmarks and guidelines to implement and develop effectual rights-based response to gender inequality and HIV/AIDS ” ( Aniekwu 2002: 35 ) . South Africa has brought in Torahs detailing steps on advancing adult females ‘s rights in what had been a preponderantly patriarchal society among Whites every bit good as inkinesss, the ANC has legalised abortion, given adult females equal power in matrimony, checking down on domestic force and censoring gender favoritism amongst other initaitives ( Economist 2010 ) . On paper South Africa has one of the universe ‘s most applaudable fundamental law incorporating an “ impressive legal armories for protecting adult females ‘s rights and is ranked 4th out of 53 states ” with respects to this ( Economist 2010 ) . “ But the spread between rule and pattern is frequently broad ” ( Economist 2010 ) ; with adult females still more likely to be unemployed and 40 % admit that their first experience of sex was a colza ” ( Economist 2010 ) . Furthermore confidant spouse force is associated with increased degrees of HIV hazard behavior, examples being multiple spouses, high degrees of harlotry and inordinate substance usage. “ A possible nexus between HIV position and domestic force has besides been recognized with surveies from Africa demoing an increased hazard of force when the adult male is HIV positive ” ( van der Straten in WHO 2003:54 ) or when the adult female perceives herself to be at high hazard of geting HIV from the adult male ( Coker AL and Richter DL in WHO 2003: 54 ) Before reasoning, it is of import that the “ Government is the responsible party under relevant international instruments to protect rights ” ( Aniekwu 2002: 35 ) . But Presidents such as South Africa ‘s Jacob Zuma are making nil but worsening the controversial issue of gender inequality through their ain actions. Zuma used traditional impressions of gender functions within Zulu society to organize the footing of his defense mechanism against colza allegations claiming sexual intercourse with his accuser was “ demanded by his position as a Zulu male ” and to deny a adult female sex in Zulu civilization when she is ready would be “ tantamount to ravish ” ( Andrews 2007: 44 ) . The Zuma instance non merely open national concerns about a civilization of force towards adult females but besides revealed the ways in which gender functions were related via cultural norms. To reason, It is of import to observe that work forces do endure besides as a consequence of gender inequality. “ For work forces, the force per unit area to execute sexually and with many spouses topographic points them at hazard of HIV infection ” ( Tallis 2000: 58 ) . The male-orientated civilization nowadays in sub-Saharan African societies means that many work forces wo n’t seek HIV services due to a fright of stigma and favoritism and the perceptual experience of being labelled weak in such a male dominated society, which so has an impact on their married womans or spouses. Both Education and Health Programmes can better entree to services for both adult females and work forces by taking fiscal barriers, conveying services closer to local communities and undertaking HIV/AIDS. In this essay I have shown the combination of their gender and gender disadvantage in footings of cultural, economic and societal factors topographic points adult females more at hazard of infection than work forces. ” Gender inequality has doubtless been a driving force in the spread of HIV/AIDS and will go on to make so until traditional impressions of the functions of work forces and adult females are overhauled. As whilst, the ‘blame civilization ‘ placed towards adult females continues, the HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS epidemic will be stay feminised and sub-Saharan African adult females will still happen themselves faced with open bias.

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