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Friday, 28 March 2008


Women in Zimbabwe can hope to live for just 34 years. It’s slightly higher for men – 37. Life expectancy has actually fallen by two months during the past year. Aids, the crumbling economy and hyper inflation are all taking their toll.In the UK female life expectancy is 81 and 76 for men. At the turn of the 20th century in 1901, it was 49 for women and 45 for men.

Women in the relatively prosperous west have always lived longer on average than men.There are also more first time mothers in the UK in the 30 – 34 age range than aged 25 – 20. In England and Wales there were 669,601 live births during 2006. 110,509 were to women between 35 and 39 and 22,512 to those aged 40 -44. The majority of British mothers give birth after the age at which their Zimbabwean sisters die.

Yesterday I wrote about the lack of women in senior positions in the European Commission and Council. Women’s representation is important and I will continue to work to make it better.

Yet if you were a woman in Zimbabwe you would stand a snowball’s chance in hell of getting anywhere. You would be dead.

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