Gender barriers in Africa

May 2018

In Africa, women are 1.4 times more likely to go blind than men and 57% of the vision-impaired in South Africa are women. In many African countries, twice as many women as men have cataracts Eye health conditions are a major setback for women – especially because their gender acts as barrier against receiving appropriate care.

In many countries in the region, men are 1.7 times more likely to have their cataracts surgically removed than women.If women had the same access, cataract blindness would be reduced by 12%, and a great many women would be released from the darkness that someone like Susana had been living in while trying to fulfil her role in her family and community.

Her children were already adults when she went blind, but her young grandchildren also stood to lose so much if Susana – who is often their primary caregiver – never regained her sight. She had to overcome many barriers to seek help at the Orbis Africa eye health outreach programme in her native Zambia, and when she did, the tables turned once again. Instead of being a burden to her children and grandchildren, she could resume her role as a pillar of strength in the family.