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Societies health is women’s health

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Joint Press release

Societies health depends on women’s health

The health of women has a direct bearing on the health of the future generation, their families, and communities, and ultimately, the health of societies

On International Day of Action for Womens Health, European public health, health promotion and disease prevention, health professionals and women issues ngo’s are calling for the recently elected European Parliament (EP), its Committees and political parties to stand strong, protect and promote women’s health, gender equality and social justice for all.

Progress on women and girls’ health and commitment to gender equality form the underlying conditions for good public health outcomes in Europe and beyond. Advancement of women’s health and rights go beyond reproductive and sexual health (SRH) and are not only a priority of only the EP Committee on Gender Equality but are a shared political responsibility of other EP Committees that are equally crucial for women’s health and well-being, e.g.the Committees for Public Health and Environment, Employment and Social Affairs, Justice and Economic Issues etc. The new European Commission and President must ensure women’s health and gender equality top their political agenda.

In Europe today, women are disproportionately more affected by the economic crisis and austerity measures often lead to crippling poverty. Many women are victims of gender-based violence and daily discrimination in different areas affecting their health. Across the EU, millions of women do not have access to SRH including adequate and affordable antenatal care, prevention is widely unavailable or too costly. Those on lower incomes such the Roma and other marginalised groups bear brunt of poor health and the social consequences of this. Socio-economic, educational, cultural and ethnicity differences also impact on patterns of behaviour and access to resources.

It is well established that the incidence and prevalence of certain diseases are higher among women. For example, osteoporosis, auto-immune diseases and eating disorders are more frequent among the female than male population. Other diseases and disabilities affect men and women differently. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is major killer in older women. Obesity, smoking and sedentary lifestyles put women at high risk of developing type-2 diabetes, the risk of which is also increasing due to women’s longer life-expectancy (2). Women in Europe are drinking more alcohol today, are becoming more frequent binge drinkers, and alcohol-related health issues start sooner in women than men (3). It should be noted, however, that although women live longer, they usually spend those ‘gained’ years with some form of disability and lower quality of life. Women outlive men by an average of 6 years, however the difference in healthy life expectancy is only 18 months.. Research, medical practice and healthcare systems must better respond to gender-differences and address women’s health across their life-course, as recommended by the World Health Organization (4). It is also important to link efforts to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health - “the continuum of care”.

Changing the socio-economic conditions for women would help tackle poverty, social exclusion, health inequalities, increase gender equality and social justice for all, including young people and older adults, the LGBT community, people living with HIV/AIDS, minority and migrant groups. Strong leadership is needed that is committed to a holistic, inclusive, and human rights-based approach to women and girls’ health in Europe and beyond; an approach which recognises diverse issues such as the feminisation of poverty and violence, governments’ accountability in prioritising health markets and health sector reform. Such an approach also needs to understand how international trade agreements can affect a women’s access to health and other resources.

“Inequalities experienced in earlier life in access to education, employment and healthcare as well as those based on gender and cultural background can have a critical bearing on the health status of people throughout their lives. The combination of poverty with other vulnerabilities such as childhood or old age, disability or minority background further increases health risks and vice-versa, ill health can lead to poverty and/or social exclusion.” European Parliament 2011 Report on Reducing Health Inequalities in the EU Committee on the Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety (5).

…more

EUGenMed Project

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The European Institute of Women’s Health is a project partner in EUgenmed.

The Eugenmed project intends to complete the following activities:

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, rheumatic disease, etc. in both women and men.

This research will lead to novel, better targeted and so more efficient treatment strategies than the previous  approaches and will help increase prevention and healthy life expectancy. We will produce an innovative roadmap for implementing S&G in biomedicine and health research. To help achieve these objectives, we will develop EUGENMED into an open European Gender Health Network that includes all stakeholders and decision makers.

6 meetings with all stakeholders 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

Material will be disseminated through a European Gender Health Portal. The aim is to create multi sector sourcing of knowledge, key to build consensus and help participation in the projects development. Inclusiveness, openness and transparency will be key principles.

Dissemination of S&G strategies to the next generation of medical interventions and therapies shall improve the health of European citizens. Project outcomes will be fed into relevant policy processes at the EU level e.g. Horizon 20/20.

EUGENMED will lead to significant innovations by introducing S&G into medical practice and research and improve European citizens’ health and Europe’s standing in biomedicine. …more

 

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EU Study of female genital mutilation (FGM)

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Study estimating how many women and girls are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) in selected EU Member States.

The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) has published a tender for a Study to estimate how many women and girls are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) in selected EU Member States.

The objective of the study is:

  1. Identify and review the existing studies on FGM risk estimation
  1. Carry out a pilot study in at least 3 EU Member States in order to estimate the number of women and girls at risk of being mutilated in the EU
  1. Develop methodological recommendations for risk estimation of FGM in all EU Member States.

The knowledge and expertise to implement the project will include:

  1. experience in EU policies and strategies about gender equality and gender based violence.
  1. experience in the area of female genital mutilation,data assessment and evaluation experience.
  1. in assessing data quality, measurability, comparability and interpretating data on FGM in different related areas (health, asylum, education, human rights, etc.) from a gender equality perspective.
  1. Knowledge about risk estimations, experience in the synthesis and analysis of large amounts of information and project management

The Research staff should comprise of:

  1. 1 project manager,
  2. 2 senior researchers,
  3. 3 researchers and
  4. 1 Editor.

The contract will complete in 5,5 Months from the date of signature and the maximum budget
for implementation is €200,000,excluding VAT.

Application deadline is 28 APRIL 2014

Please circulate this and share with data collection experts including demographers, statisticians etc. …more

A video recording of interview in Brussels

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Interview with Peg Maguire to promote EPHA Manifesto with EU Parliament election candidates.

We’ve noticed over the last five years that austerity has a major affect on Europeans. The lack of finances, unemployment, and the stress levels in all countries, not just in one particular country, has caused major, major health problems for people. This is an issue that we need to address now.” sadi Peg Maguire.

Health is a complex issue, with so many factors involved, it isn’t as straightforward as poverty equaling ill health and many of these factors have been adversely affected, but there is a review of the Europe 2020 strategy and EPHA is calling for an increased focus on health in the future vision.

This interview was done to promote the EPHA Manifesto 2014 which is timely in regard to the upcoming European Elections by informing those standing for election about supporting good public health.

Peg said, “We’ve noticed over the last five years that austerity has a major affect on Europeans. The lack of finances, unemployment, and the stress levels in all countries, not just in one particular country, has caused major, major health problems for people. This is an issue that we need to address now.”

Health is a complex issue, with so many factors involved, it isn’t as straightforward as poverty equaling ill health and many of these factors have been adversely affected, but there is a review of the Europe 2020 strategy and EPHA is calling for an increased focus on health in the future vision.

A recorded interview given by Peg Maguire, Director General, European Institute of Women’s Health and recently elected as President of the European Public Health Alliance on public health topics of interest to and for promoting benefits to all European citizens.

or
Go to EU Parliament Election Manifesto

Cigarettes – a more healthy future?

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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 perspectives in research and innovation

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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.

Mandatory criterion

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 – an EU funded project

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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

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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

Equality for Women Measure

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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.

To get more on the European Social Fund, please go to their website for Ireland or find any European contact information point

 

Changes in work and family for men and women

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The breadwinner/homemaker family of the 1950′s, had a clear division of labour, men concentrating on work outside of the home and women on family.
Since the 1960s, after this family format began to break down, many have sought both satisfying paid work and rewarding family relationships. In this video lecture, Myra Strober explains what research says about what we can do in our personal lives, work and as a society to help women and men balance work and family. …more
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