EU Parliament endorsement of a new tobacco products directive.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has, like many health organisations been in an anti tobacco war, using evidence based information and the growing cost arising from the public health burden that tobacco users create for society: About 700,000 deaths are attributable to tobacco every year and globally 1 in 2 smokers will die from a tobacco related disease.
The adoption of a WHO framework convention on tobacco control, the first international treaty negotiated under the auspices of WHO, contains legally binding obligations for 177 Parties giving a foundation for reducing the demand and supply of tobacco products as well as providing a comprehensive direction for tobacco control policy at all levels.
The endorsement of the new tobacco products directive by the European parliament is seen as a significant step filling legislative gaps and helping provide a healthier future for all. In targeting the younger generation of citizens, the new legislation mainly seeks to protect, by avoiding young people being caught by tobacco use when adolescents. It also undermines the tobacco industry’s deliberate strategy of targeting this audience.
Much effort has gone into supporting MEPs by many NGO’s and the WHO by providing them with scientific based evidence on the various issues covered by the directive. Seminars, meeting and material were developed and distributed widely to parliament and citizens explaining the issues and best ways to reduce smoking.
Representatives from the European Commission, NGOs sand others shared expertise and experiences on best policy approaches for tackling tobacco use, especially amongst women and young girls, who have been large adapters of cigarette us in recent years.
The initial proposal was diluted as it proceeded through legislative procedure and especially after the apparently high level of lobbying carried out by the tobacco industry. While the legislation as amended by the EU Parliament provides hope for the future, there are many lessons that need to be taken on board especially those in relation to lobbying process which many feel need to be revised to ensure there is no undue influence being exercised, not only in this but all areas.
The result is not one that should make people feel complacent – it is one that shows there is more work to be done. Hopefully the people involved will not consider that all necessary progress has been made otherwise we may end up with winning this battle and losing the tobacco use war. We need to reinforce our position and policy management processes to reduce the incidence of self inflicted but very professionally promoted substances that are simply toxic with regard to everyone’s health. This will help free resources for other health requirements and provide additional resources to these causes. We all need to seek a healthier future and reinforce the current level of progress for now and the future.
Gender balance and gender perspectives in research and innovation
Policy for the Research Council of Norway 2013 – 2017
Norway has been a global leader in many the areas concerned with gender and the improvement of opportunities for women to achieve full levels of equality.
The Norwegians are demonstrating they have ambition and determination to complete this task. They are setting achievable goals supported with a strategy and policy to ensure that any areas related to gender where they are not achieving their best, will be tackled in systematic and supported ways using targets to achieve their policy goals. In doing so they will benefit from harnessing the the industry and intelligence of many more people in their population.
Their recently released document, outlined below states:
1 The Norwegian Research Council will be a driving force
The Research Council has worked for many years to promote gender equality in research, gender perspectives in research and fundamental knowledge about gender. We seek to be a driving force in these areas, both nationally and internationally.With regard to gender balance, we are especially concerned with accelerating the pace at which change is taking place in senior-level academic positions and research management. In Norway, the number of women and men earning doctoral degrees is the same. Yet even in areas where women constitute the majority of doctoral students, it is men who comprise the majority of those recruited to research careers in top positions.
In a research context, Norway is ranked at the top in Europe with regard to the proportion of women on boards and as leaders of institutions. But when it comes to “grade A” professorships, Norway lies just slightly below average.
The loss of female research talent gives cause for concern for both Norwegian and international research. Experience shows that introducing simple, concrete measures can lead to a substantial improvement in the gender composition. But to bring about a more sweeping change, leaders within the sector must play an active role. In recent years the Research Council has introduced gender perspectives in research as a mandatory criterion in the assessment of grant applications.
All of our programmes and initiatives must specifically assess what the gender dimension means for their particular knowledge field. If we are to succeed, we must raise the level of expertise among everyone involved. The aim is to enhance the overall quality of research.
Gender balance and gender perspectives also receive considerable attention in European research and innovation policy. We must aspire to become one of the leading countries in Europe in this area. Norway has all the prerequisites – culturally, economically and politically to achieve this goal.
Research, via gender as one of several key perspectives, to gender as the main theoretical or empirical focus. Gender research projects are increasingly being funded through the Research Council’s open arenas, thematically oriented programmes and other types of initiatives.
Research institutions have an ongoing responsibility to maintain gender research as a separate field of knowledge, and the Research Council will follow developments in this area.
In recent years the Research Council has introduced gender perspectives in research as a mandatory criterion in the assessment of grant applications. In order for this measure to be effective, it is necessary to increase awareness and competence within the Research Council administration and among those who assess grant applications. To succeed in achieving broad-based integration, the responsibility for this must be clearly defined within the organisation.
The Research Council will follow up the policy by establishing operational targets with clear leadership responsibility and report on the performance within its own activities.
1. The Research Council will assume a greater national responsibility for promoting gender perspectives in research and innovation
The Research Council will:
- establish a national meeting place on gender perspectives in research between basic gender research, other research fields and across disciplines;
- draw on gender research when developing subject field strategies and evaluations;
- include discussions of gender perspectives in research policy input related to government white papers, national strategies, institutional strategies, the development of international research initiatives, etc.;
- incorporate gender perspectives in the Research Council’s dialogue with research institutions;
- integrate gender perspectives in Norway’s participation in the EU framework programmes and international funding instruments
2. The Research Council will work more systematically to promote gender perspectives within its own administration of research funding
- Assess the significance of gender perspectives in the development and programmes and activities;
- Introduce annual division-based reporting on efforts related to gender perspectives in programmes and activities;
- Strengthen gender perspectives in selected priority areas;
- assess the relevance of gender perspectives in all application assessment;
- implement competence-building measures for the administration and programme boards in various thematic and subject areas;
- take the initiative to strengthen policy oriented research on gender equality challenges in society.
3. The Research Council will strengthen the knowledge base on gender perspectives for use in research and innovation policy
- evaluate the capacity and quality of gender research in Norway with a view to developing this research field;
- include analyses of gender perspectives in the Research Council’s annual reports
To download the full report…… more
“Despite some advances in recent years, women in research remain a minority
and a glass ceiling is in particular blocking women from top positions. This is a
serious injustice and a scandalous waste of talent.
The Commission is focused on fostering gender equality in our research programmes, and working to change a deeply rooted institutional culture.”
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science
Eugenmed FP7 Health
Research addressing sex and gender (S&G) in biomedical sciences and health care research is emerging as a novel and highly promising field.
Interaction of S&G related mechanisms leads to different manifestation of frequent diseases such as infarction, heart failure, diabetes and rheumatic disease in women and men. Research in this area will lead to novel, better targeted and therefore more efficient treatment strategies than the previous global approaches and will increase prevention and healthy life expectancy.
This project expects to produce an innovative roadmap for implementation of S&G in biomedicine and health research. It will develop an open European Gender Health Network that includes all stakeholders and decision makers. Six meetings with all stakeholders that will result in recommendations, guidelines and teaching materials for the implementation of S&G research for target audiences, doctors, medical associations, teachers, students, researchers, industry, health policy makers, funding agencies and politicians.
The aim is to create a truly multisectorial sourcing of knowledge, a key factor for building consensus and helping close the participatory governance gaps. The EIWH will participate as one of three partners in the project, participating in each of the work packages and will lead the dissemination work package. …more
ESF – Council adopts cohesion policy package for 2014-2020
The Council of the European Union adopted a cohesion policy package for 2014-2020, after two and a half years of negotiation.
Cohesion policy is aimed at reducing disparities between the levels of development of the EU’s various regions by promoting economic growth, job creation and competitiveness.
It contributes to the achievement of Europe 2020 strategy objectives for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. …more
The Equality for Women Measure
The Equality for Women Measure is a programme of positive actions implemented with ESF grant support by Gender Equality Division, Department of Justice and Equality to foster the advancement of women in Ireland in line with the National Women’s Strategy 2007-2016.
Women start younger,have more partners,who are not necessarily men.
UK national sex survey shows how women have caught up with men in the sexual revolution
Women have caught up with men in the sexual revolution and have even overtaken them in the case of same sex relationships. They remain the ones who pay the biggest price in terms of sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies, the national sex survey has found.
4 times as many women now report same sex experiences with other women compared to 20 years ago. They are also starting to have sex earlier in the lives and are having more sexual partners over their lifetime than a generation ago, according to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, published in The Lancet.
- 1 in 10 women say that they have been forced to have sex against their will, compared to
- 1 in 71 men, and
- Women who have had just 1 or 2 sexual partners are up to 2 times more likely than men with less than 2 partners to be infected with chlamydia.
“We can see that the pace of change has been different for men and for women in the last decades. The gap previously seen between them has been closing,” said Professor Kaye Wellings of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, one of the survey’s lead authors.
“For some aspects of sexual behaviour, for example numbers of partners, it has narrowed, for others, such as age at first sex, it has closed and yet in other respects, such as same-sex experience, women have overtaken men,” Professor Wellings said.
Whilst same sex experiences have remained relatively constant among men, it has increased markedly among women. Although a minority of women have reported sex with another woman, that proportion increased from 4 per cent in 1990 to 16 per cent in 2010 and 2012,” she said.
The four-fold increase in sexual activity between women, which does not necessarily include genital contact, is one of the most dramatic shifts in behaviour identified by the survey, which was carried out between 2010 and 2012 and involved detailed interviews with more than 15,000 adults aged between 16 and 74 about their sexual behaviour and attitudes….more
Male dominated boards appoint less women
The lack of female representation in universities is again highlighted by only a third of governors are women. 32 % of governors in UK higher education and only 12% of council chairs are female, according to an audit of governing bodies by WomenCount, a non-profit organisation benchmarking women’s leadership across the charitable, academic and public spheres.
Only 31 of 166 institutions assessed (19%) achieve a “gender-balanced” board of at least 40 per cent female governors, says the report, titled WomenCount: Leaders in Higher Education, published, 4 December 2013.
Of the other specialist institutions, the least balanced was Middlesex University: When the audit was carried out, only two of 15 governors (13%) were women. It now has three female governors and a female chancellor, Dame Janet Ritterman, who were appointed last summer.
The University of the Highlands and Islands and Heriot-Watt University both have only 16%.
The University of the Highlands and Islands said it will be reconstituting its governing body, with 6 women amongst the 19 members appointed to its university court, with effect early next year.
Heriot-Watt said 3 of 4 of its recently appointed governors were women and that diversity was “at the forefront of our minds when recruiting to governing body positions”.
The analysis follows continuing concerns over the gender balance within UK universities, with only 17% of vice-chancellors and 21% of professors are female. The male-dominated university boards that are responsible for picking institutional leaders, might explain why so few women become vice-chancellors, said Norma Jarboe, founder and director of WomenCount.
“When less than 20 per cent of the board are women, it hardly ever appoints them to senior positions,” she said. “In those situations, it’s very difficult for women to influence the board because they are such a minority.”
According to the report, gender-balanced university boards are three times more likely to appoint female vice-chancellors than those with few women.
At the 30 higher education institutions with the most gender-balanced boards, nine are headed by women, compared with three among the 30 universities with the most male-dominated governance. “Some female vice-chancellors have said that the single most important thing to address the lack of diversity in university executives would be to appoint more women as governors,” Ms Jarboe added. ….more
Most gender-balanced boards, July 2013
|Institution||No of women||%|
|Source: WomenCount: Leaders in Higher Education|
|Leeds Metropolitan University||10||53|
|Regent’s University London||9||53|
|University of Essex||12||52|
|Sheffield Hallam University||7||50|
|Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance||10||50|
Least gender-balanced boards, July 2013
|Institution||No of women||%|
|Source: WomenCount: Leaders in Higher Education|
|SRUC (Scottish Agricultural College)||1||6|
|Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts||2||14|
|University of the Highlands and Islands||4||16|
Professor Estelle Freedman: changing conceptions of sexual violence in American history
In April 1933, America watched Ruby Bates walk through the door of an Alabama courtroom. Two years earlier, near the town of Scottsboro, Bates and another white woman had charged nine black youths with rape. Juries had readily believed the women despite contradictory evidence, swiftly convicting the ‘Scottsboro Nine’ and sentencing all but one to death.Many Americans believed racism, rather than rape, had condemned the defendants, and they mobilized to reverse the convictions. Under pressure, Ruby Bates admitted she had lied.
The Scottsboro affair is a touchstone in American history. The tangled trials and the years of imprisonment endured by the defendants serve as sobering reminders of the costs of racial prejudice and the long struggle toward racial justice. Stanford history professor Estelle Freedman writes about the incident in her latest book, Redefining Rape. She believes that Scottsboro can be viewed as a “watershed” in the changing definition of rape…..more
Women in Malta get to enjoy the longest healthy life in Europe, at an average 70.7 years, an EU study has found.
The average number of healthy life years for females in the EU in 2011 was estimated to be 62.2 years — a slight difference compared with men. There was a difference of 18.4 years between the EU States with the lowest (Slovakia, 52.3 years) and highest (Malta, 70.7 years) values for female healthy life years in 2011, slightly higher than in 2007, when the gap was 19.8 years.
The indicator of healthy life years (HLY), which may also be called disability-free life expectancy, is a composite indicator that combines mortality data with health status data. It indicates the number of remaining years that an average person of a particular age is expected to live without any severe or moderate health problems. The prevalence of health problems is estimated by means of a question on long-term limitations on usual activities in the annual EU-SILC survey.
For males there was a difference of 19.0 years in 2011 between the average number of healthy life years lived in Member States with the lowest and highest values in the EU.
These ranged from 52.1 years (Slovakia) to 71.1 years (Sweden) with an EU average of 61.8 years. Males in Malta were held to enjoy a healthy life just slightly less than Sweden’s. …more