International Women's Day is celebrated around the world on 8th March each year. The day aims to highlight the political and social struggles of women worldwide.
International Women's Day
8th March 2015

Triple jeopardy

Already disadvantaged by limited access to food, healthcare, education and work opportunities, the impact of leprosy is greater for girls and women.

The triple jeopardy facing women and girls with leprosy leads to a downward spiral where they are discriminated against on grounds of gender, disability and the stigma of leprosy.

This can lead to late detection and diagnosis of leprosy, with the strong likelihood of permanent disability. Discrimination, reduced employment and marriage prospects lead to poverty, exclusion and potential abuse.

There are few research studies about women and girls with leprosy. Those that exist give evidence that women are twice as likely to be diagnosed late.

Women with leprosy are invisble

Women with leprosy seem ‘invisible’ and official World Health Organization statistics vary enormously on new cases reported from country to country giving no clear or accurate picture (from 20.8% in Madagascar to 49.6% in Sierra Leone).

Women and girls have been ignored, their cases underreported and actions need to be taken by organisations and governments working with people affected by leprosy to address this.

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