thinkBIG Issues

The thinkBIG conference will address a wide variety of issues affecting women around the world in great depth. While the thinkBIG conference will focus our panels on four particular issues, many of the other issues facing women and girls today will be illuminated throughout the weekend
Below you'll find brief overviews of a few of these issues and links to relevant websites. Let us know if you have questions or comments, or links to include!


Women and HIV/AIDS

Worldwide HIV infection rates in women have been rising quickly in recent years, since an estimated 90% of HIV transmission occurs during heterosexual intercourse and women are physically more likely than men to become infected during intercourse. Women are also more vulnerable to contracting HIV in societies where they have less social status. It is hard for women to refuse intercourse or convince their male partners to use condoms or other barrier methods of protection, and poverty drives some women to exchange sex for money or shelter. In many countries, women living with HIV are stigmatized in society and are less likely than men to have access to treatment.   Promising solutions such as microbicidal gel, that a woman can use to prevent HIV transmission during sex, are far from being realized.

Women and HIV/AIDS Links:


Lack of access to education is a pervasive problem in developing countries among girls and boys alike, but the problem is much worse for girls because of the status of women in these nations. Over two thirds of the world's illiterate population is female, and two-thirds of children without access to primary education are girls. Many societies discourage girls from attending school because a woman's place is in the home, so families will allocate resources such as school fees, supplies and uniforms to male children rather than female. Many girls get married or become pregnant before finishing school, are sexually abused by male teachers, or cannot travel the distance to school for fear of personal safety. Girls and women need more access to education because education is a vital aspect of a successful society and is necessary for the empowerment of women.

Education Links:

Reproductive Health

Reproductive health problems are the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age worldwide. Although several United Nations agreements have affirmed reproductive rights for all women, many women living in poverty do not have access to safe and effective reproductive health care, and consequently they suffer disproportionately from STIs, unintended pregnancy, and unsafe childbirth. More than a third of all pregnancies worldwide are unintended and over half a million women die each year from preventable or treatable complications during childbirth. Many women who contract STIs will not receive treatment and can develop serious complications including infertility. Reproductive health services such as abortion are not legal in many places, and women undergo an estimated 20 million illegal abortions each year, amounting to almost half of all abortions.

Reproductive Health Links:

Violence against women

Violence against women occurs in all nations of the world and it takes many forms, including rape, domestic abuse, and harmful cultural practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation. Although international law condemns these acts as violations of fundamental human rights, women's lower status in many societies prevents them from taking a stand. Worldwide, a third of women have been physically abused by a domestic partner, and millions more have been raped. In armed conflicts, women suffer the brunt of the casualties and rape is used as a tool of war and genocide.

Violence against women Links:





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