European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH)
Founded in 1996, the European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) is a non-governmental organisation aiming to promote gender equity in public health, research and social policies across Europe. In striving to achieve the highest standard of health for all, society’s health policies must recognise that women and men-due to their biological differences, their access to resources and their gender roles-have different needs and are faced with different obstacles and opportunities. This mission requires a gender-sensitive approach.
The EIWH aims to reduce inequalities in health, in particular due to gender, age and socio-economic status by highlighting that gender/sex is an important determinant of health and our understanding how vulnerability to, onset and progression of specific diseases vary in men and women must be improved.
The European Institute of Women’s Health research reports and communication materials highlight that the incidence and prevalence of some diseases are higher in women than men, while others affect men and women differently.
Gender is an important variable in understanding health and health behaviour. For example, in response to the EU Commission’s consultation on health inequalities (2009), the Institute recommended that more information and awareness on certain diseases pertinent to women was needed.
- Promote health throughout the lifespan of women, men and children.
- Ensure quality and equity in health policy, research treatment and care.
- Draw policy makers attention to the obstacles that minority and socio-economic disadvantaged groups face in obtaining a desirable health status.
- Promote individuals to play an active part in being fully engaged in their own health.
- Campaign for gender-specific bio-medical and socio-economic research that addresses sex (biological and physiological) and gender-based differences to ensure access to quality treatment and care for women across their life span.
The promotion of gender equity has been a long-standing theme in the philosophy and operations of the EU; for example, mainstreaming of gender was formalised in the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997). However, efforts to date are not sufficient in respect of the creation of equitable and inclusive European healthcare systems that realistically and pragmatically identify and address the needs of women.