The lottery of birth
The lottery of birth

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The lottery of birth

1.1 What do we mean by the lottery of birth?

Described image
Figure 1

By ‘birth is a lottery’ we mean that how, when and where you are born, grow up and live is so profoundly and widely unequal and that these inequalities will shape your whole life. So being born with a disability, for example, will be experienced very differently depending on when and where you are born.

One viewpoint says that there is no better time than now to give birth and to be born. The huge benefits of improved nutrition and sanitation, widespread immunisation, greater access to education and health care and greater legal protection for women and children are well recognised.

However, despite such advances having been made, a different viewpoint might focus on how armed conflict, disparities of income and wealth, abuse of all kinds and discrimination still damage the lives of countless numbers of women, men and children and will continue to do so. Adversity and trauma, and the ability of individuals to deal with what life throws at them, is reflected in the video you watched in the Introduction.

In the next section, you will start to think about how birth is a lottery.

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