Les Nouvelles et Questions courantes

Statin Warning for Pregnant Women

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Pregnant women or those hoping to start or extend a family should avoid using the cholesterol-lowering drugs statins, say scientists. New research from The University of Manchester has shown that even water-soluble or 'hydrophilic' statins, such as pravastatin, can affect placental development leading to worse pregnancy outcomes.

For more information, read the story.

FDA Approves Eyelash Thickening Drug

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From the Natural News, a story by Mike Adams: The FDA has just approved a new drug for -- get this -- thickening your eyelashes! They even claim it treats a "disease." You might suspect the disease is called something like "Thin Eyelashes Disorder" but no, as usual they have a really technical sounding term for it: hypotrichosis which means, in Latin, "Thin Eyelashes Disorder."

Read the whole story here.

Canadians Can’t Afford Not to Have a Public Drug Plan

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The Canadian Health Coalition (CHC) has released a ground-breaking report entitled Life Before Pharmacare. Starting in the fall of 2007, the CHC held a series of public hearings in communities across Canada. Over 250 Canadians gave testimony on how prescription drug costs affect them and their loved ones. The hearings were the first time Canadians had an opportunity to share their experiences and insights regarding prescription drug costs, availability and effectiveness.

Home Care Report – The Change We Need

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A new independent report on Ontario’s home care sector by Patricia Baranek, Carol Kushner and the late Marion Dewar. This is a non-partisan independent review of the current research along with input received through 78 presentations and 69 written submissions to five public hearings held across Ontario in June 2008. The report makes 20 recommendations to reform home care and provide urgently needed change.

Read the report.

Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery (FGCS) Activism

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The New View Campaign is opposed to the growth of the unregulated and unmonitored genital cosmetic surgery industry that is medicalizing women's sexuality and creating new risks, norms and insecurities. They are posting documents and analyses of this dangerous and offensive new trend on this page for journalists, students and scholars. 

UN Asks Canada to Report Back on Poverty and Murdered Aboriginal Women

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A key United Nations human rights monitoring body has issued a report highly critical of Canada’s record on women’s human rights. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reviewed Canada’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and issued its Concluding Observations in Geneva this week. The Committee asked Canada to report back in one year on steps taken to address inadequate social assistance rates across the country and the failure of law enforcement agencies to deal with the disappearance and murder of Aboriginal women and girls.

The CEDAW committee’s concluding observations on Canada are available online.

The Food Crisis and Gender

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by Katherine Coon

Statistics on the most recent global food crisis are well known. In the three years leading up to June 2008, food prices rose 83%. Although declining since, they are still 60% higher than in 2006. There is little prospect of returning to the cheap food regimes that characterized the world prior to 2005 anytime in the foreseeable future. So far, the food crisis has pushed an estimated 75 million people into chronic hunger since 2005.

Women and children, particularly girls, have been hardest hit by the food crisis. In part, this disproportionate impact is because women in poor rural communities have less access to resources, transportation, and communication networks. Any effective resolution to the food crisis - and to reinforce food security more generally - must incorporate an understanding of this differential impact on gender roles.  Excerpted from Foreign Policy in Focus, November 1, 2008.


Social Determinants of HIV Risk in Women

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Twenty years ago, it was said that the AIDS epidemic "moves along the fault lines of our society and becomes a metaphor for understanding that society". The feminization of this disease is a compelling example of how the AIDS epidemic has grown along the "fault line" created by the unequal status of women. As pointed out by the World Health Organization's Commission on Social Determinants of Health, "the catastrophic AIDS epidemic in southern Africa is a clear demonstration of the lack of power of women to enjoy fundamental social freedoms". What was once known in the U.S. as a gay man's disease, AIDS now claims the lives of an increasing number of women, both in the United States and around the globe. Read the article.

FAFIA Reports to United Nations on Canada’s Poor Record On Women’s Human Rights

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Representatives from the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA) have made submissions in Geneva to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (UN CEDAW Committee).  The alliance of seventy women’s organizations presented its report, Women’s Inequality in Canada, at the beginning of the UN CEDAW Committee’s 42nd Session.

The FAFIA alliance of over 70 Canadian women’s organizations is committed to domestic implementation of Canada’s international human rights commitments to women. FAFIA’s report, Women’s Inequality in Canada, was prepared with the help of more than forty member groups and individuals. It documents Canada’s performance under CEDAW since its last review.

The Evolution of the Birth Control Handbook: From Student Peer-Education Manual to Feminist Self-empowerment Text, 1968-1975

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Forty years ago, student activism was not only alive and well at McGill but it also made a huge difference. In 1968, a group of students at McGill ran for student government, with a promise that if elected, they would produce a book on birth control. They got elected, and the book was produced. The handbook was a risky venture. The oral contraceptive pill was not legalized in Canada until the next year and even just giving information on contraception was a criminal offense.  The students' initiative eventually became what's known as Montreal Health Press, a non-profit organization dedicated to distributing information on birth control and other information on sexually transmitted diseases. The Handbook was wildly popular, with sales that numbered in the millions both domestically and internationally. Read the complete article.

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