The effect of the 2014 West Africa Ebola virus disease epidemic on multi-level violence against women

Melanie O'Brien, Ximena Tolosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the disproportionate impact of the 2014 West Africa Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic on women, presenting an assessment of how this impact in particular is linked with violence against women and women’s right to health, and a critique of improvements that could avoid discrimination against women in healthcare crises. Design/methodology/approach: This paper covers conceptual understandings of, and utilises a human rights law and public health lens to analyse how the EVD epidemic in West Africa both directly and indirectly caused greater harm to women and girls. All these factors which represent intersectional violations of the human rights of women are examined with a focus on violence against women and the right to health. Findings: There are multiple reasons why the EVD outbreak harmed women disproportionately, and this intersectionality of discrimination must be considered in any response to a public health crisis. Addressing the vulnerability of women and girls to all forms of violence involves the coordinated efforts of public health, legal and political actors to empower women. Originality/value: Specific issues of the 2014 West Africa EVD outbreak have been examined in medical journals, but there have been no academic studies that present a cross-disciplinary analysis of the gender concerns. This paper combines a public health perspective with a human rights law viewpoint in order to consider the impact of the EVD outbreak on women and provide suggestions as to how discrimination and disadvantage of women in such health crises can be avoided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-160
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare
Volume9
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever
Western Africa
West Africa
Violence
violence
Disease
public health
Public Health
Disease Outbreaks
human rights
discrimination
Women's Rights
Health
health
intersectionality
studies (academic)
Law
women's rights
political actor

Cite this

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title = "The effect of the 2014 West Africa Ebola virus disease epidemic on multi-level violence against women",
abstract = "Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the disproportionate impact of the 2014 West Africa Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic on women, presenting an assessment of how this impact in particular is linked with violence against women and women’s right to health, and a critique of improvements that could avoid discrimination against women in healthcare crises. Design/methodology/approach: This paper covers conceptual understandings of, and utilises a human rights law and public health lens to analyse how the EVD epidemic in West Africa both directly and indirectly caused greater harm to women and girls. All these factors which represent intersectional violations of the human rights of women are examined with a focus on violence against women and the right to health. Findings: There are multiple reasons why the EVD outbreak harmed women disproportionately, and this intersectionality of discrimination must be considered in any response to a public health crisis. Addressing the vulnerability of women and girls to all forms of violence involves the coordinated efforts of public health, legal and political actors to empower women. Originality/value: Specific issues of the 2014 West Africa EVD outbreak have been examined in medical journals, but there have been no academic studies that present a cross-disciplinary analysis of the gender concerns. This paper combines a public health perspective with a human rights law viewpoint in order to consider the impact of the EVD outbreak on women and provide suggestions as to how discrimination and disadvantage of women in such health crises can be avoided.",
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AB - Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to provide an analysis of the disproportionate impact of the 2014 West Africa Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic on women, presenting an assessment of how this impact in particular is linked with violence against women and women’s right to health, and a critique of improvements that could avoid discrimination against women in healthcare crises. Design/methodology/approach: This paper covers conceptual understandings of, and utilises a human rights law and public health lens to analyse how the EVD epidemic in West Africa both directly and indirectly caused greater harm to women and girls. All these factors which represent intersectional violations of the human rights of women are examined with a focus on violence against women and the right to health. Findings: There are multiple reasons why the EVD outbreak harmed women disproportionately, and this intersectionality of discrimination must be considered in any response to a public health crisis. Addressing the vulnerability of women and girls to all forms of violence involves the coordinated efforts of public health, legal and political actors to empower women. Originality/value: Specific issues of the 2014 West Africa EVD outbreak have been examined in medical journals, but there have been no academic studies that present a cross-disciplinary analysis of the gender concerns. This paper combines a public health perspective with a human rights law viewpoint in order to consider the impact of the EVD outbreak on women and provide suggestions as to how discrimination and disadvantage of women in such health crises can be avoided.

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