It is Time for an EU Strategy for Women’s Health

Guest Article by Aoibhinn Collery, Research and Communications Officer, European Institute of Women’s Health 

It has been over 60 years since the Treaty of Rome, where gender equality was enshrined into EU law, yet no country has succeeded in fully reaching gender equality; this is also reflected in healthcare. The European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) calls on the EU to commit to the reduction of health inequalities and provide equitable health for all women, through the provision of an EU Strategy for Women’s Health. 

Some Facts and Figures on Women’s Health: 

  • By 2050, the GDP in the EU will increase by 6-10% or €2-3 trillion if gender equality is improved. 
  • Women earn 13% less and receive pensions that are 29% lower than men. 
  • Women are the main caregivers and perform the majority of household chores. In the EU 80% of care is provided informally (unpaid) and 75% of informal carers are women. 
  • Women are under-represented in medical research. Women have more than a 50% greater risk of developing adverse drug reactions compared to men.  
  • 500,000 women in Europe do not have access to care during the first months of pregnancy. 
  • 1 in 3 women in Europe have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime and 8% have experienced violence in the last 12 months. 
  • Women are disproportionately exposed to the risk of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. 

As part of its political manifesto for the European Parliamentary elections in 2024, the EIWH calls for an EU Strategy for Women’s Health. Such a strategy would ensure that women’s health remains a policy and research priority. It would also address the societal challenges that lead to health disparities; improve data collection and analysis; harmonise current legislation; and ensure that women’s voices and needs are embedded in all EU policies. With effective monitoring and evaluation measures, real progress can be made on gender equality in health.  

Young Women’s Health Group 

Aside from the call to action in the manifesto, the EIWH also directly advocates for the inclusion of women’s health across the life-course in research and policy. We believe that young women’s health is an under-researched, under-resourced and often overlooked area of healthcare.  

A concrete way in which contribute to this, is through  our  Young Women’s Health Group, so we can hear from young women, aged 18 – 35 years, across Europe on their health needs, priorities and experiences. This group will discuss health issues, healthcare, gender equality and how Europe can better support young women’s health.  

If you are passionate about gender equality in health, we want to hear from you.  

Why join our Young Women’s Health Group? 

  • Have your say in the workplan and future of the EIWH 
  • Meet likeminded individuals and network 
  • Stay up to date with gender and health policy and research at national, EU and international levels 
  • Opportunity to get involved in the work of the EIWH 

If you are a organisation wishing to support our manifesto, or if you would like  more information or would like to sign up to the Young Women’s Health Group, kindly send a direct email to: 

Aoibhinn Collery, Research and Communications Officer 

eu manifesto for womens' health post
young women's health group

Disclaimer: the opinions – including possible policy recommendations – expressed in the article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of EPHA. The mere appearance of the articles on the EPHA website does not mean an endorsement by EPHA. 

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