New York: Researchers have found that countries with strong women's rights are more likely to have faster growth and better health outcomes than those who don't promote and protect these values.
The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, shows this trend is evident even in resource-poor countries
"The results confirm that even with a lack of resources, if a country has a strong human rights structure, the health outcomes are better," said researchers.
The study aimed to find if there might be a link between protection of women's rights, health improvement and sustainable development and if ultimately, women's rights might have more of an impact than economic and social or civil and political rights alone.
They analysed databases which held information on health, human rights and economic and social rights for 162 countries for the period 2004-2010.
Countries were grouped according to the respect they afforded to women's economic and social rights.
Analysis of the data showed that strong economic and social rights were associated with better-improving health outcomes, possibly because of the expenditure on health per head of the population.
Overall, countries with strong women's rights had better and improving health than those where women's rights were only moderately or poorly respected.
These health indicators include disease prevention, such as vaccination, reproductive health, death rates and life expectancy.
"Today, the value of human rights has often been questioned from an economic standpoint, however, our data finds that rather than limiting progress, human rights and women's economic and social rights can benefit them," the researchers concluded.
The findings are cross-country analysis from Drexel University, University of Nebraska Omaha, University at Albany in the US, the University of Oxford in the UK and Dokuz Eylul University, Turkey.