Today I launched the a Manifesto for Women’s Health at the European Parliament. The Manifesto was created by the European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH).
The event marked the beginning of the EIWH’s campaign Healthy Women—Healthy Europe, which will profile what Europe can do to prioritise women’s health in order to improve the health of all those in Europe. Other speakers at the event included Members of European Parliament, representatives from the European Commission, World Health Organisation and other key health stakeholders.
According to the Manifesto biological and social influences (sex and gender) are critical to health. It pointed out that women face higher rates of diseases, such as in breast cancer, osteoporosis and auto-immune diseases than do men and said other diseases affect men and women differently, including diabetes, depression and cardiovascular disease. Women do not present the same for conditions and respond differently to treatment than do men, according to the Manifesto which is calling for strategies to account for these differences.
Attendees were told that women in Europe often have lower paid, often less secure and informal occupations than do men. They said women earn 16% less than men and receive pensions that are 40% lower than do men in Europe. Lack of resources or decision-making power, unfair work divisions and violence against women all impact health, according to the Manifesto
As a Member of the European Parliament, I am committed to gender equity and high-quality access to treatment and care. I ask my colleagues to support this Manifesto to improve women’s health in Europe now. There were many important issues relating to women’s health being discussed here today and this is an important move in the right direction in highlighting what can be done to make improvements in this area.
In Europe, women outlive men by on average more than five years, but their healthy life expectancy advantage is less than nine months, according to statistics.
The Manifesto highlights some central issues in women’s health and calls on the EU to make concerted and tangible action. The EIWH recommends the immediate inclusion of health in all policies as socioeconomic, political, educational, transport, environment, cultural and ethnicity differences impact patterns of behaviour and access to resources for women and their families.