Representational ImageCreative Commons

Gender inequality exists globally, and only four out of over 135 nations have reportedly achieved gender equality status: Costa Rica, Cuba, Sweden, and Norway.

Thi kind of discrimination is known to be one of the causes of noticeable crimes against women – female infanticide, honour killing, etc -- in many parts of the world, including India.

A study has now showed that since 1990, women's health has significantly worsened but the health of men has improved, and gender inequality may be to blame.

Researchers at Umea University and Region Norrbotten in Sweden have studied health trends among women and men aged 25 -34 from 1990 to 2014. It was found that in 1990, 8.5 percent of women self-rated their health as being worse than those in their age group. In 2014, this trend had increased to 20 percent of women.

"In recent years, public debate has raised the issue of increased illness and sick leaves among women. Our study now shows, for the first time, that there are corresponding health trends also among young women," said Annika Forssén, a researcher at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, a general practitioner in Luleå and co-author of the article.

The researchers analysed answers from 1,811 people in the MONICA study in Northern Sweden. The study participants had to answer a questionnaire which included questions about self-rated health.

The results showed that an increased proportion of study participants indicated obesity, anxiety and dissatisfaction with their personal economy, among both women and men. Simultaneously, the proportion of women and men with high levels of physical activity increased over the period.

"A generally worsened self-rated health among young people most likely suggests increased the risk of illness both in the short and long-term. The results show that gender equality efforts, and especially the promotion of equal rights to health for men and women, need significant revisions," said Göran Waller, a researcher at the Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, a general practitioner in Kalix and co-author.

According to the study authors, the possible causes for this negative health trend among young women include tougher working conditions in female-dominated professions such as healthcare, lack of equality in private life, violence against women, increased risk of stress-related exhaustion disorder and pressure to be successful, socially active as well as physically attractive.

The study was published in PLOS One.