Gender imbalances permeate Beninese society and culture. Health risks for women start early in life, and in households, more attention is often given to the well-being of boys than that of girls. UNICEF estimates that each year 1,500 Beninese mothers lose their lives while giving birth.
Gender equality and women’s empowerment is a cross-cutting theme across the U.S. Global Health Initiative country strategy for Benin. For years, USAID has provided support to women’s health programs through maternal and reproductive health interventions and fistula repair. USAID is now supplementing those programs with efforts to sensitize men to women’s health needs in family planning, pregnancy, and childbirth. We are also advancing the participation of women in health service delivery by encouraging the training of women as health assistants (aides-soignants) and advocating for greater female representation on community health committees and boards of grassroots health organizations (mutuelles).
Last updated: April 16, 2014