Africa: Alcohol Harm Is a Women's Rights Issue but Remains a Blind Spot in Global Health and the Women's Movement

UN Women image for International Women's Day in 2020.

Focus group discussions among women in rural Rwanda consistently rank alcohol as the number one factor for violence against women. Stories of victims and the concerns of women in South America, India and South-East Asia are very similar and put a human face to the alcohol-fueled epidemic of gender-based violence.

This battle is ongoing and yet, these women remain largely unheard, the evidence remains largely unnoticed and the concerns remain largely ignored in the global health community and women's rights movement.

Why that is the case is illustrated by a new groundbreaking report from the gender equality and health equity collective Global Health 50/50 entitled "Power, privilege and priorities". I've participated in the meetings of the Commission on the Status of Women for almost a decade and have yet to see that the women's rights movement takes the voices, experiences and concerns of our sisters affected by alcohol-fueled violence seriously.

I've been working with global policy-making processes at the World Health Organization for more than a decade and we have yet to see that alcohol harm becomes an integral part of the work to promote women's health - commensurate with the alcohol harm women and girls suffer. The reason for...

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