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Mens Sana Monogr. 2012 Jan;10(1):134-42. doi: 10.4103/0973-1229.91303.

Democracy, Human Rights and Women's Health.

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Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC, V2N 4Z9, Canada.


Significant improvements in human rights and democracy have been made since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations in 1948. Yet, human rights, especially women's rights, are still being violated in many parts of the developing world. The adverse effects of such violations on women's and children's health are well known, but they are rarely measured. This study uses cross-national data from over 145 countries to estimate the impact of democracy and respect for human rights on various measures of women's health while controlling for confounding socio-economic factors such as income, education, fertility and healthcare. It finds that democracy and regards for human rights contribute positively to women's health outcomes, as do socio-economic variables.


Democracy; Human rights; Mortality rates; Socioeconomic determinants of health; Women's health

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