Global Health Justice

Structural Violence

Structural violence refers to systematic and normalized social, economic, and political oppression of vulnerable populations. Structural violence includes income inequality, racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sexism, ableism, and other means of social exclusion leading to stress, poverty, trauma, crime, incarceration, lack of access to care, healthy food, and physical activity.

Those in power typically benefit from structural violence. As a rule, they will cling to their power at all costs, including through physical violence to preserve or enact systemic changes that reinforce power divides. We live within systems that are expressly designed to reinforce social disparities.


March 8, 2023

Poverty and Exploitation in Jobs, Housing, Banking

By Matthew Desmond from the NY Times Magazine

Desmond describes the structural role of exploitation in the persistence of poverty in the USA –  that is also highly relevant to poverty globally. While we try to promote programs to aid the poor, ‘we have not confronted the unrelenting exploitation of the poor in the labor, housing, and financial markets,” This simply means that…


February 26, 2023

Violence and Sexual Harassment Against Women in Health Professions

By Women in Global Health (WGH)

Women make up 70% of the health care workforce worldwide. Sadly, female health care workers are faced with sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (SEAH) at work every day perpetrated by male colleagues, male patients, and male community members. Oftentimes, SEAH experienced by women in the health sector goes unreported, unrecorded, and unpunished. In 2022, Women…


December 15, 2022

‘Every chemist has a backroom’: the rise of secret Female Genital Mutilation in Kenya

By Caroline Kimeu from NPR

In 2011, Kenya passed laws to decrease the rates of female genital mutilations (FGM), by imposing hefty fines on its practitioners, and increasing surveillance and enforcement. But the recent medicalization of FGM is posing a new challenge for the east African nation, which has a 15% medicalization rate: one of the highest in Africa. In…


December 13, 2022

[BOOKS] on Structural Violence

By Fatima Al-Shimari

Structural violence refers to the social, economic, or political harm ingrained in the underlying systems and structures of a society, causing long-term suffering and disadvantage for certain groups or individuals. Here are some suggested books on the topic:   “Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic” by James Gilligan (1997) Gilligan, a psychiatrist and expert on…


November 11, 2022

Food insecurity is driving women in Africa into sex work, increasing HIV risk.

By Seyma Bayram from NPR

There are many underlying causes  that can reduce the burden of HIV if addressed timely. HIV can be spread through blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk, and other body fluids. Among the possibilities are: Sexual contact with someone who has the HIV virus without using a condom A needle exchange or syringe exchange that results…


October 11, 2022

Post-Pandemic Austerity Shock worldwide – Reliefweb Report

By GHJ Team

Isabel Ortiz and Matthew Cummings of ReliefWeb estimate that 85 per cent of the world’s population will live in the grip of post-pandemic austerity measures by 2023 – and likely to continue until at least 2025, when 75 per cent of the global population (129 countries).  Currently, 143 countries – including 94 developing nations –…


August 24, 2022

U.N. Faces Record Humanitarian Aid Shortfall — but Not for Ukrainians

By Farnaz Fassihi, NY Times 22 Aug

Important article about a just published UN report that describes the structurally racist responses to global humanitarian crises. Farnaz Fassihi reminds us that as war, global heating/drought, COVID-19, and longstanding structural violence have grossly increased the need for global humanitarian assistance, the responses from the US, Europe, and Japan has focused on Ukraine at the…


June 22, 2022

Election of activist presidential team to combat structural violence in Colombia

By GHJ Team

Colombia just elected Gustavo Petro as the country’s first leftist president and environmental activist Francia Márquez Mina as the country’s first Black vice president. They have promised social and environmental justice and peace. Their proposed platform includes universal health care, public education and banking, and rejecting proposals to expand fracking and mining in favor of…


March 19, 2022

Treatment of Palestinians by Israel called “Apartheid” by Amnesty International

By Amnesty International

Amnesty International released their report: “Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: a Cruel System of Domination and a Crime Against Humanity” They now join other respected Israeli and international human rights organizations in naming Israel as an Apartheid State.  The report describes Israel’s system of oppression and domination against the Palestinian people, including seizures of Palestinian land…



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