The social determinant of health for Nepal I would like to focus on is gender. As I have stated in previous activity posts, women in Nepal have been stigmatized against, forming an ultra-patriarchal society in Nepal. Women in Nepal are seen as taboo during their menstrual cycles, so they cannot be around other people or in any homes. This takes away from their ability to care for their children, complete the housework that is required of them, and, most importantly, become educated.
Because women cannot be around other people or in any homes, they usually drop out of school when they have their first menstrual cycle. This makes gender a major social determinant of health because women do not have equal opportunity to succeed in their lives and become educated. Most girls in Nepal drop out of school by the age of 12 because it would be too hard to catch up every time they had to be exiled for a week each month. Therefore, women must marry and completely rely on their husbands to make a living and keep a job, so they have to do everything in the house, including raising the children, housework, cooking, and ensuring their husbands’ health is good. Men are expected ot get a job and only concentrate on that – no housework. Women don not have the ability to get jobs in Nepal, and that will never be able to change unless people allow girls to continue schooling after they begin their menstrual cycles with ease.
Women are also required to stay away from any homes during their menstrual cycles as well. This is also a major social determinant of health because they have to be outside for a week at a time every month, no matter the weather. If a woman enters a home during her menstrual cycle, it is a belief that the food, people, and animals can be cursed and get very sick. Women must withstand very hot and cold temperatures, monsoon seasons, and constant rain even without monsoons. Can you imagine being outdoors during inclement weather during cramps or a really bad period? To try and sustain themselves, some groups of women build forts or tents to hide under for the week. The trek to move away from villages where people are residing is very rough as well. The mountain terrain of the Himalayas is difficult enough to navigate when doing chores, but to find solitude from inclement weather and stay safe for an entire week is terrifying.
Overall, gender is a major social determinant of health in Nepal because women simply do not have enough rights. Natural bodily functions like menstrual cycles are seen as taboo, which forces women to have to drop out of school or have to be exiled to the rough terrain of Nepalese mountains or monsoons. Women in Nepal are treated much differently than men because they are not educated and because their bodies are seen as taboo. Women deserve rights to be seen as the same as men, but unfortunately, being a woman in Nepal is a major social determinant of health because of the dangers accompanied with it.
Furuta, Marie. “Women’s Position within the Household as a Determinant of Maternal Health Care Use in Nepal.” JSTOR. Nternational Family Planning Perspectives, 1 Mar. 2006. Web. 11 Aug. 2016.
“Statistics.” UNICEF. UNICEF, n.d. Web. 28 July 2016.
WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, and World Bank Group. “Maternal Mortality in 1990-2015.” Nepal (2015): n. pag. World Health Organization. Web. 28 July 2016.