Category: Engender (page 1 of 18)

Women multi task but their health can suffer

Women wear many hats – from family responsibility , to successful professionals in fulltime work. This multi-tasking often causes them to neglect their own health.    This phenomenon is not limited to the developed world or the US.  it is also the norm in many poor and developing societies.  Lets check the example of women and their health in India which is now an emerging economy  ……. more

Sex and Gender

Sex and Gender: download

Sex and gender are often been confused for having the same meaning. To fully understand how they affect health, there needs to be a clear distinction between them. Interchanging the two words can introduce forms of bias and be harmful to research.

What is Sex?

Sex is the natural condition of a person. It refers to biological and  physical characteristics[i]. Someone is male or female depending on what features they are born with. There are some exceptions with people who aren’t born with a clearly identifiable sex- this is referred to as intersex. This includes:

  • Chromosomes
  • Hormones
  • Sex organs

What is Gender?

Gender is the social role of a male or female. It is more complex than sex and is formed through a variety of factors. Society teaches expectations, norms, and relationships that influence a person’s gender role as either masculine or feminine. Gender affects a variety of areas including[ii]:

  • economic (income, credit);
  • social (social networks);
  • political (leadership, participation);
  • information and education (health literacy, academic);
  • time (access to health services); and
  • internal (self confidence/esteem)

Gender is harmful when it limits resources and opportunity in these areas either through passive stereotyping or outward prejudice.

Why does it matter?

The interchangeability between the words sex and gender ignores the complex relationship between the two words and how they affect each other. This includes the health field where research still doesn’t account for biological sex or physiological gender differences. Promoting an understanding of the difference between sex and gender will enable for there to be more equitable health and research practices.


[i] Nobelius, A. (2004, June 23). What is the difference between sex and gender? Retrieved March 22, 2016, from

[ii] Gender. (2015, August). Retrieved March 22, 2016, from


Logo of European Institute of Women's Health


For Immediate Release

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2016, the European Institute of Women’s Health calls on both key stakeholders and citizens of Europe to make a pledge for parity.

International Women’s Day is held on the 8th of March each year throughout the world to celebrate women’s contributions and achievements and to call on continued change to promote gender equality. The European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) supports this year’s theme, “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It up for Gender Equality” and actively work to raise awareness on gender inequities #IWD2016.

Many efforts have been made in recent decades to reduce gender inequalities throughout the world. Despite some progress, large inequities continue to persist, so explicit and continued efforts must be made promote gender equality. In 2014, the World Economic Forum estimated that gender gap would not be eliminated globally until 2095. One year later, the figure was readjusted due to progress slowdown; global gender will not be achieved until 2133. We cannot sit idly, watching this slowdown in vital progress.

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2016, the EIWH draws attention to the gender pay gap, which has large repercussions for both women and their families. Women in the EU earn less over their lifetime than do men, resulting in lower pension levels and higher rates of poverty. In 2012, 22% of women over the age of sixty-five were at risk of poverty compared to 16% of men of the same age. The gender pay gap has generally declined in the last decade. However, women in the EU earn about 16% less per hour despite having good or better qualifications than their male counterparts. This gap varies across Europe and has been widening in some countries.

Furthermore, women face a large burden of unpaid domestic work and childcare in the EU leading them to work shorter hours than men. These family obligations often force them to work in certain sectors and having children increases the gender pay gap. Consequently, women are more likely than men to be part-time and low-paid positions and are less likely to hold management and leadership positions. Therefore, the employment rate of women is lower than men in Europe. Lower employment rates among women can negatively impact opportunities for career advancement, training, pensions and unemployment benefits.

The EU has a long history of working to close the gender pay gap, starting with the Treaty of Rome, 1957. The Directive on Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value (Directive 2006/54/EC) outlines community legislation in the area of equal treatment for men and women in employment, including the application, enforcement and monitoring of equal pay provisions. At present, the Treaty of Lisbon includes a basis for EU action on the gender pay gap and the Charter of Fundamental Rights includes a commitment to gender equality. Horizon 2020 also includes various objectives to improve the employment situation of women by creating more and better jobs. The EIWH applauds these actions and encourages the EU to continue to be a global leader in promoting gender equity.

The Institute calls on key stakeholders and citizens of Europe to make a pledge for parity #PledgeForParity and to work to implement the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, especially those that eliminate of gender inequalities and end to discrimination and violence against women and girls. The EIWH welcomes new efforts like the UN Women’s Step It Up Initiatives that work to promote the rights and empowerment of women and girls throughout the world.

For more information, please visit:

Older mothers risk more strokes or heart attacks

Older mothers face increased risk of stroke, heart attack

Having children when older was linked to increased risks of complications for the mother and her children. A new study suggests there that other risks associated with late pregnancy i.e. over 40 could increase risks of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death.

U.S. based research suggests women who have later pregnancies should be made aware of potential cardiovascular risks. Dr. Adnan I. Qureshi, director, Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Institute, St. Cloud, MN, says their findings are of great importance, given that more women are opting to have children after the age of 40.

A 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the pregnancy rate in the US for women aged 40-44 increased from 11 per 1,000 women in 1990 to 19 per 1,000 in 2009.

“We already knew that older women were more likely than younger women to experience health problems during their pregnancy,”

says Dr. Qureshi.

“Now, we know that the consequences of that later pregnancy stretch years into the future.”

Their findings, were presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2016,  Los Angeles, the team analysed data of 72,221 women aged 50-79 who were part of the Women’s Health Initiative Study. 3,306 of these, reported becoming pregnant at the age of 40 or older, many influenced by career pressures.

Rates of stroke, heart attack and death from cardiovascular diseases were assessed over a period of 12 years and compared between women who became pregnant aged 40 and older and those who had children at a younger age.

Women should be made aware of cardiovascular risks’ with later pregnancies

Women who became pregnant at the age of 40 or older were found to have a 1.4% higher risk of ischemic stroke and a 0.5% higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke.

Researchers found an increased risk of ischemic stroke (clot caused), Hemorrhagic stroke (brain bleed), heart attack and death from all forms of cardiovascular disease in women who got pregnant at 40 or older.

Ischemic stroke occurs where blood flow to the brain is blocked and is the commonest form of stroke, accounting for approx. 87% of all cases. Hemorrhagic stroke accounts for the remainder and occur when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and bleeds.

Researchers also found that women with later pregnancies had a 0.5% greater risk for heart attack and a 1.6% greater risk of death from all forms of cardiovascular disease   …..more

EIWH Newsletter 1- 2016 priorities

Logo of European Institute of Women's Health

Greeting from the EIWH
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Newsletter January 2016

Making the health of women and their families a priority across the European Union

As we start the New Year, we are very pleased to share some highlights from our work in 2015 and to provide you with an overview of some of our activities and projects in 2016. We will continue our work to improve the health of women and their families and campaign to reduce inequalities across the lifespan.  Further information on our activities and recent news can be found on our website .

Europe is undergoing significant demographic, social and economic changes. The impact of these changes on society at large and women, in particular, has not yet been fully understood. The poor, the socially excluded and minorities are particularly disadvantaged.  If Europe wants to guarantee a high level of health protection for all, health policy must anticipate and keep pace with these changes.

We wish to thank you for your continued interest in and support of our work.  Please let us know which areas you are most interested in and how we can further support your work in 2016.  We are currently remodeling our website, which will be utilised to provide updates on our work as well as the work of our Members.

Our Key Priorities for 2016

1.    Active and healthy ageing across the lifespan, including increasing healthy life      years
2.    Prevention of chronic diseases
3.    Health promotion with focus on combating smoking, drinking and obesity among women
4.    Maternal and infant health
5.    Integrating sex and gender into healthcare professional education
6.    Including sex and gender in medicines regulation
7.    Vaccination across the lifespan
8.    Social determinants of health
9.    Migrant and refugee health
10.  EIWH communications and membership expansion
11.   Continue our interaction on safe medicines use with the European Medicines Agency on the Patient and Consumer Working Party and with the ECDC on European Antibiotic Resistance Day and European Immunisation Week
12.   Celebrate 20 years of the European Institute of Women’s Health 1996-2016

Key Projects

European Gender Medicine: EUGenMed Project

The EIWH partnered with Charite Universitaetsklinik and Maastricht University in this two-year FP7  Research Project to produce a Roadmap for Implementation of Sex & Gender (S&G) into biomedical and health research and to create an open Gender Health Network.

The 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 in men. Research in this area will
lead to novel, better targeted and therefore more effective and efficient treatment strategies.

The EIWH was responsible for two workshops on Medical Education and Medicines Regulations. Based on the scientific evidence collected by the project, the resulting roadmap with its recommendations will be communicated to the leading European bodies, biomedical research organisations, and a multi stakeholder
audience consisting of patient and health professional groups.

For more information, please click

Implementation of the EU Clinical Trials Regulation

The EIWH will continue its advocacy work on including women in biomedical research and clinical trials to ensure medicines are evidence based for women during the implementation of the new Clinical Trials Regulation.

Recent position papers have been written on Horizon 2020–Agenda for Women’s Health and the Clinical Trials Regulation, another position paper on Safe Medicines Use during Pregnancy will be released in 2016.

For more information, please click:

EU Vaccination Strategy and Communication

Despite past successes in elimination major infectious disease, the benefit of vaccination has become a neglected public health measure. Following the Italian Presidency conclusion of 2014, the EIWH highlighted the benefit of vaccination across the life-course and continues to advocate for the Commission and EU member states to develop a comprehensive life-course coordinated, vaccination strategy that is
supported by robust, coherent and evidence-based communication programmes to restore public trust in vaccination.

For more information, please click

ASSET Project (FP7)

The ASSET project (Action Plan on Science in Society in Epidemics and Total Pandemics) is a 48-month research project with the aim to address scientific and societal challenges raised by the occurrence of pandemics and epidemics.

The main objectives of ASSET are to (i) establish baseline knowledge about influenza epidemics and pandemics and their wider societal implications (ii) the extent of research and innovation into epidemics and pandemics (iii) the existing operational and regulatory environments across Europe.

The EIWH is leading several tasks including a literature review on sex/gender and vaccination, the setting up of a gender platform to create awareness among women and policy makers of the need for vaccination to prevent infectious diseases and to work with schools to develop communication tools to disseminate information on vaccination.

For more information, please click

Healthy Pregnancy

The EIWH has identified the safe use of medication during pregnancy as an unmet medical need. Europe lacks a robust and comprehensive regulatory and information system about safe medicines use during pregnancy and lactation. It is estimated that over 80% of pregnant women take medication.

However, there is little information available to determine the risk to both mother and child about the use of medicines during pregnancy. In order to improve maternal health, and subsequently the health of the future generation, reliable and up to date information must be made available to women who are planning pregnancy or are already pregnant in an easily accessible manner.

We will work with the European Board and College of Obstetricians and Gyneacologists (EBCOG) and other key stakeholders to bring this gap in public health to the attention of the policy makers and the European Medicines Agency.

We will highlight important issues, such as the recommendations from the EUROmediCAT Project for a comprehensive pharmacovigilance system on the safe use of medicines in pregnancy through our policy briefs, newsletters and meetings.

We will also continue our series on maternal health with a policy briefing on gestational diabetes, including its impact on the future generation.

For more information, please click

If you would like a printable version of this to share or keep for your own use then please download our Newsletter

A dietary increase in potatoes can increase risk gestational diabetes

Dietary increase of potatoes risks gestational diabetes for pregnant women and babies.

Potatoes and pregnancy

Potatoes are widely consumed . Globally over 1 in 3 women in their reproductive years eat potatoes daily.  Their use is included in the UK in the “starchy food” group and recommended for consumption in the UK.

Researchers from Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Harvard University  carried out a study of the potato’s impact on pregnancy by followeing over 21,000 singleton pregnancies over a 10-year period. Data was taken from the US Nurses’ Health Study II (1991-2001). Participants had no previous gestational diabetes mellitus or chronic diseases. Diets were assessed with questionnaires every 4 years and  854 pregnancies, were affected by gestational diabetes.

After including control factors such as age, family history, diet quality in general, BMI and family history of diabetes, higher potato consumption before pregnancy was linked to  increased risks of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes is a major concern as it is associated with negative perinatal outcomes and raises long-term cardiometabolic risks for both mother and child.

The researchers acknowledge as the study was observational a cause and effect cannot be drawn, but the results may not surprise as unlike other vegetables, potatoes contain a high level of starch.  Its starch is quickly absorbed giving potatoes a high glycemic index. So meals high in potatoes can induce a glucose spike in the blood. The spike can cause oxidative stress to pancreatic beta cells and potentially exhaust these over time.

Previously potatoes were found to increase blood concentrations of fasting plasma glucose, insulin resistance and so the risk of type 2 diabetes. French fries, for instance, arry addiional risks of “degradation products from the frying oil and dietary advanced glycation end products that are generated during the frying process.”

These products were previously shown to increase risks of insulin resistance and diabetes. The present study’s authors conclude their report with some simple advice to minimize the potential risks.


Childcare for all is an equality issue

Cooperating with EU Institutions and Agencies: The EMA

Our cooperation with EU institutions and agencies: The EMA

European Medicines Agency (EMA)

The EIWH is a member of the Patient and Consumer Working Party of the European Medicines Agency (EMA). This group provides recommendations to EMA human scientific committees on all matters of interest to patients in relation to medicinal products.

The European Medicines Agency is the European Union (EU) body responsible for the scientific evaluation and approval of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies. The EMA centrally reviews and approves innovative medicinal products, based on the clinical trial data supplied by the applicant organisation. This approval process is strictly defined and regulated by EU legislation. Once approved, the medicinal product receives a marketing authorisation for use in the EU and European Economic Area (EEA).

EMA interaction with patient and consumer organisations

The EMA Human Scientific Committees’ Working Party with Patients’ and Consumers’ Organisations (PCWP) was established in 2005 to provide recommendations to the EMA and its Human Scientific Committees on all matters of direct or indirect interest to patients in relation to medicinal products.

As users of the medicines patients and consumers have specific knowledge and expertise to offer. The EMA is committed to maintaining a strong relationship with these key stakeholders in the work of the Agency.

Why is the work of the EMA important to women?

Women are some of the heaviest users of medicines, starting early with birth control pills and across their lifespan as longevity champions. Additionally, due to women’s reproductive and caring role in society, women have a specific interest in, but also knowledge to offer about medicines use for themselves and their families.
For more information on the EMA and the Patient and Consumer Working Party  please click here. 

Other content on Mentioning European Medicine Agency

Student Scholarships, Summer 2016

Summer Student Scholarships 2016

( Training/Career Development)

Closing Date: 11 February 2016

Application Restrictions:
The Health Research Board invites applications for Summer Student Scholarships from undergraduate students in a health or social care-related discipline to support their participation in research during the summer months in 2016.

The purpose of the student scholarships is to encourage an interest in research and to give the student an opportunity to become familiar with research techniques.

All grant applications are made through the HRB Grants E-Management System (GEMS)

Nominated Host Institution will approve and submit each application on behalf of the applicant. Please make this a time consideration when preparing your grant application.

Who should apply?

Undergraduate students studying in a relevant discipline at a university /third level institute in Ireland but not in final year of their degree course and who have not previously received a Summer Student Scholarship from the HRB.

In line with the HRB strategy the project must fall within one of the following research areas:

  • patient oriented research,
  • health services research or
  • population health research

Applications that focus solely or predominantly on basic biomedical research are not eligible.

Value of the award?

The amount paid will be €250 per week for a maximum of 8 weeks and is paid to the student by the nominated Host Institution.

How to apply?

Online through the HRB GEMS online system

Read Applicant Guidance Notes and FAQ for further information.


Deadline for submission is Tuesday, 11 February 2016 at 13.00.

Related Documents:

Apply online for Summer Student Scholarships 2016

Summer Student Scholarship Guidance Notes 2016 (796 kB)

Summer Student Scholarship 2016 FAQ (264 kB)

Revenue Scholarship Declaration Form (42kB)

Open grants and fellowships

EU Funding opportunities

Contact HBB

Obesity – biggest threat to women’s health

Obesity should be treated as a “national priority”, chief medical officer warns.

Dame Sally Davies said women should be “empowered” to live healthier lives in her annual report, as she spoke of the risk to future generations.  She called for government to include obesity in its national risk planning – putting it the same category as terrorism, flooding and major outbreaks of disease.

Her report said over half of women aged 34 to 44 and almost two-thirds of women aged 45 to 54 were classified as overweight or obese in 2013.

  • 54% of women aged 34 to 44 classed as overweight or obese in 2013
  • 62% of women aged 45 to 54 were classified as overweight or obese in 2013

    “Action is required across all of society to prevent obesity and its associated problems from shortening women’s lives and affecting their quality of life.”We need to address the educational and environmental factors that cause obesity and empower women and their families to live healthier lives.”

    said Dame Sally Davies.

    She added that she wanted to “bust the myth” that women should eat for two during pregnancy.

    Research has shown that overweight pregnant women are more at risk of miscarrying and premature birth. Expectant mothers, she said, should focus on a healthy diet, exercise, not smoking and avoiding alcohol.

    “It is never too late to take action for a healthier lifestyle – for you and your family.”

    Figures from Public Health England show how obesity in men compares to women.

  • 62.1% of adults were classed as overweight or obese in 2013
  • 67.1% of men were overweight or obese in 2013
  • 57.2% of women were overweight or obese in 2013.
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