MEP’s call for action on violence against women.
After the recent International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, EU members of parliament’s women’s rights and gender equality committee urged all member states to adopt tougher, more harmonised legislation against gender based violence.
Iratxe García Pérez, Chair of the Committee said “Seven women a day are murdered in Europe as a result of violence”. which she saw as a consequence of sustaining an “unfair society that has allowed one part of society to believe they own another part of society”. The Spanish MEP pointed out that “the citizenry at large cannot understand that we can reach an agreement to save banks but we can’t reach an agreement to save lives”
She called for drafting of a gender based violence directive and “an integrated policy” for related “prevention, treatment, police measures and legal and economic measures”.
García Pérez wants “2016 to be declared the European year against gender violence”.
Vĕra Jourová, commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, stated that “violence against women affects society as a whole… – the direct cost of violence against women is €69bn per year”, so making economic sense for the EU to tackle the issue. She said the commission is currently working on a “strategy for equality between men and women with a chapter against gender-based violence”. Cyber violence and harassment will also be addressed in the strategy which must also include actions including men in combating gender-based violence.
She further explained that “our action must be steady, coherent and based on several pillars – legislation, awareness raising, funding as well as improving funding and data collection”. The way forward is “to more effectively use existing tools instead of creating new ones”.
The commissioner also urged member states to “ratify the Istanbul convention as soon as possible”. This convention was introduced by the Council of Europe in 2012 and so far has only been ratified by eight member states.
Teresa Jiménez-Becerril Barrio called for a “safer and fairer Europe – we owe this to the women that have been killed, to their children and their families that are still mourning them”, adding,
” The perpetration of gender-based violence “is a problem of education and we must generate awareness among men – it is men who should fight against this appalling problem, more so than women”.
Ernest Urtasun urged parliament to “denounce the fact that we don’t have a specific legislative instrument at EU level”.
Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, a vice-chair of parliament’s ALDE group, said “Europe needs all of its member states to find legal and ethical common ground”.
She complained that “there is a lack of unity against sexist violence – this is a product of inequality deeply rooted in the subconscious of many Europeans”.
Catherine Bearder agreed with this point, saying “these issues cannot be seen in isolation bur rather in part of a larger problem – society’s attitude towards women”.
Iliana Iotova, a vice-chair of parliament’s civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, called for legislation not only protect the victims, but also prevents these crimes.
Biljana Borzan emphasised that “we need to put an end to the culture of silence where victims are ashamed – perpetrators need to be ashamed, as well as the commission”.
No to gender equality on company boards and extending maternity leave
EU legislation to ensure gender equality on company boards and others to extend maternity leave and reduce air pollution and landfill should be killed off, a leading business lobby organisation has told the European Commission.
A BusinessEurope communication to Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans contains a hit list of five pending bills, including the EU’s Circular Economy package, that it wants ditched by the executive.
The statements says proposals are “damaging to the competitiveness of European companies”, and “should be withdrawn”, the paper, which hyad not been public and dated 20 November, said. Trade unions and environmental campaigners have strongly criticised BusinessEurope’s recommendations.
Timmermans has a mandate from Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to cut red tape and deliver better regulation. He is currently analysing about 130 pieces of pending legislation left over from the Barroso Commission to decide which, if any, should be dropped.
The targeted proposals are:
- Gender balance on boards;
- Revisions to the Safety and Health of Pregnant Workers Directive;
- The reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants
It will be interesting to see what reaction comes forward from women’s, family and health group representatives.
Ms Sturgeon has strongly indicated that she intends to fight for gender equality as Scotland’s first female First Minister, she is also expected to give top jobs to women.
Shona Robison, the Commonwealth Games minister, and Angela Constance, who, like Mr Brown, stood unsuccessfully for the SNP deputy leadership, could find themselves with new jobs. Ms Robison may be given the health brief at the expense of Alex Neil, while some have suggested Mike Russell could make way for Ms Constance at education.
Spring forward women’s conference, 5 Nov 2014.
State of women’s health in European Community
A report in 8 sections giving an overview women’s health in the European Community (EC)
It examines main causes of mortality and morbidity at different phases of women’s lives as well as individual and social determinants influencing women’s health within the context of evolving demographic and social trends. Main data is drawn from a range of resources sources include the World Health Organization’s Health for All (HFA) database, various reports and data , some of which could be considered dated.
The data obtained is limited and topics covered defined by this shortcoming. The report focuses on women aged 15 years and up as most gender specific health data at the EC level are based on this age group. …more
Ministerial Conference on Women’s health: a life course approach, Rome, 2 – 3 Oct 2014 Auditorium, Ministry of Health – Viale Giorgio Ribotta 5
The Ministerial Conference on “Women’s health: a life-course approach” will take place under the auspices of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Policies for promoting the health of women across their lifespan represent actions aimed at improving the health of the entire population. It will be an opportunity to discuss, compare and share experiences on this issue among the 28 Member States in order to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment strategies. According to the principle of “promoting health in all policies”, during the Conference debates will be focus on four main topics concerning women’s health:
- sexual health
- reproductive health
- female cancers
These topics play in fact a fundamental role in terms of actions for the promotion of women’s health and primary and secondary prevention of adverse outcomes.
Each session will be introduced by an opening keynote speaker on the topic’s state of the art within the EU framework. The Session will continue with two in-depth speeches, to focus on some relevant aspects of each of the four topics. A guided discussion will follow with scheduled brief interventions of Ministers or their delegates representatives on the implementation of policies in their own Country.
The Conference will start on Thursday 2nd at 9 a.m. with the First Session dedicated to lifestyles, with in-depth speeches on “Physical activity during different stages of a woman’s life” and “Diet and nutrition for women during different stages of life”, and then we will continue through the afternoon with the Second Session dedicated to sexual health, with in-depth speeches on “Sexually transmitted infections” and “Endometriosis and sexual pain”.
On Friday 3rd we will discuss on reproductive health, with in-depth speeches on “Preconception Health” and “Pregnancy, childbirth and puerperium”. In the afternoon we will discuss on female cancer, with in-depth speeches on “Screening as an opportunity to promote woman’s health” and “Infertility Prevention among oncology patients”. …more (pdf)
Spring forward for Women
Debate on the state of play
A new strategy for gender equality post 2015
Interaction between sex and gender and inequalities in health care
Peggy Maguire, Director General of the European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) and President of European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) described the interaction between sex and gender, inequalities in health care, violence against women and sexual reproductive health.
- investment in gender-sensitive research, prevention and care;
- inclusion of reproductive rights, sexual health and violence against women in health planning and programmes;
- reporting of discrimination in health care; and
- increased health literacy for women.
Nutrition can extend active healthy life
The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Commission’s in house science service, published a report highlighting the importance of diet and nutrition in increasing active healthy life , and promoting Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA).
AHA focusses on under-nutrition in the elderly as:
- a cause of functional decline
- a consequence of functional decline
while highlighting the main research gaps.
The European population is ageing and the proportion of people older than 65 is increasing from 17.4% to nearly 30% by 2060.
People over 80 years and older will triple during the same period. Supporting AHA is critical to improving the quality of life in the elderly, to ensure individuals can continue being active.
By ‘healthy’ they refer to physical, mental and social well-being and ‘active’ as the continuation of participation in civic, cultural, economic, physically active, social and spiritual affairs.
Determinants for active and healthy ageing
By critically examining the contribution of diet and nutrition in AHA, and its importance in the ageing process, several determinants of AHA were identified. The determinants of AHA consist of economic, social and behavioural factors.
Economic factors include income, social and work protection, with people on low incomes being at higher risk of illnesses and disabilities. This is because nutritious foods, health care and housing are less affordable and accessible to people with limited financial means. The health and social service system in a country also plays a major role in healthy ageing and should put special effort into health promotion and disease prevention, e.g. via vaccination programmes or regular screening for malnutrition and frailty. Physical and social environments also influence ageing. Cities, communities and neighbourhoods could adapt their structures and services to older people with varying needs and capacities. Social support and social interaction can also greatly affect the elderly’s health and well-being. Behavioural factors play a crucial role in AHA. Adopting positive lifestyle behaviours throughout life is crucial, which include:
- a well-balanced diet,
- engaging in physical activity,
- avoiding smoking,
- avoiding excessive alcohol consumption
- appropriate use of medications.
Under-nutrition and functional decline
Undernutrition is also a major issue amongst the elderly. In the European Union more than 20 million older people are at risk of being malnourished, costing European health and social care systems about 120 billion euros per year..… more