Monday, June 4, 2018


Women on The Frontline of Health 

  •  "Inequalities experienced in earlier life in access to education, employment and health care 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.” 

In celebration of the European Institute of Women’s Health’s (EIWH) twenty-first anniversary and sixty-years of gender equality in EU policy since the Treaty of Rome (1957), the EIWH brought together decision makers and thought leaders to review progress that has been achieved in sex and gender equity in women’s health.  Delegates explored existing gaps by employing a crosssectorial approach and devise steps for moving forward together.  On the basis of the delegate discussion from the four policy central policy topics, we have put together the main recommendations from each panel, which went to form this draft Action Plan.

Despite the vital role that women play in their families, communities and societies, women have significantly less financial resources than men.  Women experience a gender pay gap during their working years, earning on average 16% less than their male counterparts in the EU.  Women also face a pension gap during retirement, with women on average receiving pensions that are 40% lower than men.  The gender pay and pension gap varies greatly from country to country; for example, pension gender pay gaps range from a 4% to a 49%. As a result, working and older women have less financial resources.i  This gap gets wider over lifetime and during retirement and is problematic during old age; many women struggle to pay for help with assisted living or long-term care. 

Women are on the frontline of health in Europe.  They play a vital role in all aspects of healthcare as healthcare professionals, caregivers, patients, mothers, daughters and friends, particularly in light of an ageing Europe.  As such, women are key decision-makers and thought leaders.  Yet, research, programming, policy and practice do not sufficiently account for sex and gender differences.  For example, women outlive men but are burdened by more years of ill health.  We must invest in women’s health in order to improve the health of all in Europe.

The European Action Plan for Women’s Health has been developed to outline how we can   advance the women’s health agenda together and drive policy implementation in key areas.  The Plan will be turned into a European Manifesto for Women’s Health 2019.  This manifesto will be given to key Members of European Parliament (MEPs) in the run up to the 2019 election to ensure that women’s health and wellbeing is on the European policy agenda

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