Every human is born equal. Every human has equal rights in the world. This very basic concept of human rights is entrenched in all of us, no matter what our gender, ethnicity or country of origin. And yet, as women, we know that no matter how inalienable our right to equality may be, in most cases and fields, we still dont have it. This is especially true in the case of healthcare access and health rights.The World Health Organization (WHO) says that your gender can have a significant impact on your health. This can be due to both biological and gender-related differences, but in most societies even now, women and girls are especially disadvantaged because of deeply-rooted discriminations. To remedy this situation, people and organisations across the world are joining hands to make this right by spreading more awareness about womens health rights and helping women access them through many methods.One key step in this direction has been the 1995 Beijing Declaration, affirmed by 189 member countries of the United Nations, which presents a massive blueprint to advance gender equality across all fields, including health. It addresses all the injustices women face every day when they try to access their healthcare rights, or when they even try to become aware of them. Heres everything you need to know about women and girls health rights, and how to access them.What Do Womens Health Rights Mean?The UN says that every womans right to healthcare stems from the right to bodily autonomy. This autonomy means that it is the right of a woman to make decisions regarding her health, including her fertility, sexuality and other areas, without any coercion or violence. These rights have to be upheld, ensured and protected by all members of society, yes, but it is especially the correlative duty of healthcare professionals and providers because they are the ones who are handling these rights every day at different levels.So, healthcare professionals and providers have a responsibility to disclose all information they have regarding a health issue, to the patient, no matter what their gender. This information includes details of the illness, proposed treatments, their benefits and adverse effects, their alternatives, and then, getting express and informed consent of the client while also respecting their right to refuse treatment. Similarly, healthcare providers are also bound to maintain secrecy about the patients and their health issues without the interference of others, especially those she hasnt chosen to consult or may not have her best interests at heart.Most importantly, healthcare providers have a duty to treat women as individuals in their own right who are fully competent at making health choices and decisions. This upholds her fundamental human right to liberty and autonomy, particularly over their own body. Even though we now understand that gender is non-binary, most of the rights that women aim at getting are still comparable to those given to men, simply because men, over all other genders, have had the privilege to enjoy all their rights throughout history. So, simply put, a woman has the same right to healthcare that men doand society, healthcare professionals, governments and communities are supposed to provide said rights to women just as much as they do to men.Things That Prevent Women From Accessing Health RightsHowever, please note here that the operative phrase is supposed to. This is because patriarchy and misogyny are deep-rooted evils which have convinced people across all genders that women do not have complete rights over their own bodies. In fact, they need the permission and support of men to conduct even the slightest of everyday functions, including making health decisions. Women are also taught to consider their own health and wellbeing as far less important than those of men, elders and childrenand this applies to almost all societies across the world.These considerations predicated by patriarchy have not only affected how each and every one of us views womens health rights and obstructs them, but have also seeped into the very evolution of medical science. A 2016 study in the peer-reviewed journal Pharmacy Practice shows that women have historically been excluded from studies and clinical trials that have played a critical role in the development of medical science as we know it today.Until very recently, gender-specific differences in how diseases manifest and how they should be treated hadnt been considered. For example, cardiovascular diseases show up in women with signs and symptoms which are not the same as men, so their diagnosis parameters and treatments should ideally be tailored according to womens biology. Similarly, sexually transmitted and other infections can affect women very differently than they affect men, so, once again, clinical trials for treatments, medicines, diagnosis and prognosis should be specifically tailored for women.While this is the discriminatory role the medical fraternity has played in obstructing womens health rights, there are also larger issues at stake which need to be considered. Women are often reduced to their one capabilitythat of being able to produce the next generation. This leads to disproportionately high stress on womens reproductive role and health, but not much beyond that. What this results in is a low quality of life for women due to low care, nutrition, etcwhich in turn makes them more vulnerable to late-life health issues like osteoporosis and dementia.There is also the other factor the UN points out: Women and girls experience more violence in their lifetimes than men do. This means they also need specialised care to cope with or survive these experiences, which should definitely include mental healthcare. In fact, keeping this in mind, the medical system should create a complete support system that additionally supports women and girls through the fallout of the violence and abuse they face.Health Rights Of Women We Need To AssureAgencies and organisations across the world, including the WHO and the World Medical Association (WMA)and many governments around the world tooare trying to ensure that women and girls living today have access to healthcare services and rights that equal those of men. Perhaps, in some cases like violence against women, women and girls need to have even more access to healthcare and support than men. Here are some of the ways in which we can assure womens health rights: Education is the very foundation on which the future rights and services of women must be built. This means making every woman and girl child well aware of her right to bodily autonomy and educating her about how and where to go about to get help when they need it. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) states that women should be able to participate in all ethically conducted clinical trials and research. This is important because it is only through these researches that the future of medical science and how it can support all humans equally can be assured. This can also help women get the right treatments, in the right dosage, at the right time of their lives. Medical science is not cheap, especially right now. So, governments and communities need to ensure that public health and womens health are given appropriate attention and funding. This is the only way to ensure that the support system women need for their health actually exists instead of staying on paper like a global pipe dream. Defend the defenders of womens health rights. There are many organisations, activists and care groups which wage war against patriarchy every day to ensure women and girls know their health rights, and can have the means to enjoy them too. Supporting these efforts and emboldening them with frequent encouragement in any way possible, is definitely something that can be done with just a little bit of effort.What more should we be doing to ensure that women everywhere have access to their health rights? Let us know in the comments.