Women’s healthcare remains a top priority for Ireland, according to a new report.
Speaking ahead of the release of a new gender equity report by the National Health Foundation, which aims to ensure women are included in all decision-making in the healthcare system, the head of the charity said Ireland needed to focus on reducing the risks of sexually transmitted diseases.
The report also recommends that women be included in decisions about the design and delivery of primary health services, including maternity, antenatal and postnatal care, and that they be provided with equal access to care.
The Irish Times spoke to the head, Dr Gwen O’Connor, who said Ireland is a “lifestyle choice country” with a “healthy culture”.
She said women were “the best nurturers in the world”, with good outcomes and a high level of satisfaction in terms of their health.
She added: “Women make up over 50 per cent of the population but they make up just 11 per cent.”
The fact that we are in a situation where there are a large number of women who are very ill with cancer and we are doing everything we can to reduce the risk of those women dying is a reflection of the fact that it is the health of women that is being protected.
“We are doing all we can.”
The report states that while the majority of women are happy to have access to medical services, it is clear that “healthy lifestyles are not always associated with higher levels of happiness, well-being or health”.
She added that while women were not always happy, there were “good reasons for that”.
The report highlighted that women have an “important role to play in ensuring that our society is sustainable”, noting that while “women make up nearly two-thirds of the workforce and are responsible for an estimated 80 per cent, they still make up only 13 per cent”.
It highlights the need to work together to ensure the health and wellbeing of all people, especially women, in order to achieve our “health, well being and wellbeing objectives”.
The research states that the health sector, especially in terms atlantic, was “among the most vulnerable sectors in the country” and highlighted the need for better collaboration across sectors to tackle the issue.
O’Connor added that the gender pay gap is “not just about a difference in pay, but about a broader inequality of opportunity”.
“Women are paid less than men in many sectors, including in healthcare and the care industry, and in many of these roles, the gap between men and women in the workforce is wider than the gap in the work force,” she said.
“In other sectors, the pay gap between women and men is still wide.”
Women still receive poorer pay than men.
“The findings, which were commissioned by the health charity the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, also highlighted the fact women were paid less for the same work than men.
O`Connor said that the issue of gender pay equality “is an issue that is very sensitive and has to be addressed”.”
We need to recognise that this is not just about women.
This is about all workers,” she added.
The National Health Institute has commissioned the report.