A new report from the United Nations Population Fund says universal human rights should not be compromised for cultural reasons.
The UNFPA report says women are dying for medical, as well as cultural reasons.
It says the challenge is to make development more culturally sensitive, to ensure overcome inequalities that harm women.
UNFPA representative, Ian Howie, says his current post in Vietnam provides a good example of cultural factors harming women.
“In the Hmong ethnic areas of Vietnam for example, women often choose a traditional birth at home or literally walk alone into the forest to give birth rather than go to a health clinic,” he said.
“Why do they do this? Because they don’t want to show their bodies to people who are not of their own ethnicity and who do not understand their culture.”