Research Findings

New ICRW report analyzes how national policies can engage men in achieving gender equality

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Could changes in men's attitudes and behaviors about health, violence  and parenting benefit women, children -- and men? Do national policies  influence men's behaviors in relation to child rearing, employment and gender-based violence?

International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) and partners on March 3 released a global, comparative policy analysis that examines how changes in national policies could help achieve gender equality. ICRW's Gary Barker -- who leads projects that engage men to reduce inequality -- will present the report's conclusions at the 54th  session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

"What Men Have to do With It" calls for policy responses that account for the specific historical and political contexts of each country. It also identifies practical, successful policies that involve men and challenge traditional conceptions of "manhood”.

Download the paper here (PDF).


Emergency Contraception: Advance Provision Does Not Reduce Pregnancy Rates or Increase Unprotected Sex

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Providing emergency contraception to women in advance of need does not reduce pregnancy rates, despite increased use and faster use after unprotected sexual intercourse. These are the findings according to a new review published in The Cochrane Library.

Women who take emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex are less likely to become pregnant. But there are many reasons why women may not be able to access emergency contraception within this time frame. In some countries, for instance, emergency contraceptives are not available over the counter and it can be difficult to arrange an appointment with a doctor on public holidays or weekends. One proposed solution is to provide women with a set of emergency contraceptive pills to keep for immediate use, should it be needed.

Read the story here

Read the abstract here.

GLOBAL HEALTH RISKS: Mortality and burden of disease attributable to selected major risks

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This World Health Organization report states that the leading global risks for mortality in the world are high blood pressure (responsible for 13% of deaths globally), tobacco use (9%), high blood glu­cose (6%), physical inactivity (6%), and overweight and obesity (5%). These risks are responsible for raising the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers. They affect countries across all income groups: high, middle and low.

Read the report (pdf).


UNB researcher studying how women care for their health after being bullied in the workplace

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Even the most rewarding job can be stressful at times. But imagine showing up at work each day when your boss is constantly berating or threatening you. What would you do? Dr. Judith MacIntosh, a researcher at the University of New Brunswick at Fredericton, is studying how women care for their health when they experience workplace bullying.

The term workplace bullying covers a wide range of behaviours, from excluding someone from workplace activities, to claiming credit for another person's work, to verbal and physical abuse. According to Dr. MacIntosh, these behaviours are persistent and are usually intended to cause harm. And they can have devastating health effects over time.

Based on findings from another study, Dr. MacIntosh and her team developed a website that provides support for employees dealing with bullying, and guidance for employers who are trying to build more supportive workplaces. The researchers have received positive responses from both men and women who have visited the site and found it helpful.

Read on for more information on this research.

Report: Dying Too Young: Maternal Mortality

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In this 2009 report by Amnesty International examining the issue of young women dying in childbirth, the authors say, “Poverty drives maternal mortality, and maternal death and injury drive families further into poverty. Complications of pregnancy and childbirth rarely kill affluent women from developed countries. Governments must mobilize the resources and take other necessary steps to ensure that all women enjoy their right to life, their right to determine the number and spacing of their children, and their right to the highest attainable standard of health, all without discrimination.”

Read the report.

Explaining the Health Gap Experienced by Girls and Women in Canada: A Social Determinants of Health Perspective

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By Cecilia Benoit, Leah Shumka, Kate Vallance, Helga Hallgrímsdóttir, Rachel Phillips, Karen Kobayashi, Olena Hankivsky, Colleen Reid and Elana Brief
University of Victoria

Sociological Research Online, Volume 14, Issue 5

In this article published in November 2009, the authors incorporate both sex and gender in their analysis of the health gap experienced by girls and women in Canada. They also take an intersectional approach in that they argue that a comprehensive picture of health inequities must, in addition to considering sex and gender, include a context sensitive analysis of all the major dimensions of social stratification. They state: “In the case of the current worldwide economic downturn, and the uniquely diverse Canadian population spread over a vast territory, this means thinking carefully about how socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, immigrant status, employment status and geography uniquely shape the health of all Canadians, but especially girls and women... By doing so we can observe how the social safety net of all Canadians has been eroding, especially for those occupying vulnerable social locations.”

Read the complete article.

Girls do what they have to do to survive: methods used by girls in the sex trade and street economy to fight back and heal

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The Young Women's Empowerment Project has just put out a research report regarding young women involved in sex work.

Read the report in full here (PDF).

Eating and Drinking During Labour: Let Women Decide

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Women should be allowed to eat and drink what they want during labour, say Cochrane Researchers. The researchers carried out a systematic review of studies examining the traditional practice of restricting food and fluid intake during labour and found no evidence for any risk or benefit for women at low risk of complications.

To read more see: http://mrw.interscience.wiley.com/cochrane/clsysrev/articles/CD003930/frame.html

Presciption Meds Can Harm Fetus: University of Montreal Study

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More than six percent of expectant mothers in Quebec consume prescription drugs that are known to be harmful to their fetuses, according to a Université de Montréal investigation published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Half these women will voluntarily terminate their pregnancy fearing congenital malformations, which means the abortion rate among these women is 11 percent higher than in the rest of the population.

Dr. Bérard examined data from the Quebec Pregnancy Registry on 109,344 women, aged 15 to 45, who were pregnant between 1998 and 2002.

Dr. Bérard believes some drugs are overused, such as benzodiazepine to treat symptoms of anxiety, and should be avoided to reduce the odds of fetal malformations.

Other drugs are necessary however, such as antiepileptics. “In those cases, the pregnancy must be carefully planned and medication use must be at a strict minimum during the first trimester,” she stresses. “And the expectant mother must meet with her physician regularly.”

About the cited study: www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/122648158/PDFSTART

About Dr Bérard’s research team: www.aberard.ca

WHO Report on Women's Health Worldwide

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The World health Organization has released a report on women's worldwide health from birth until death. Titled Women and Health: Today's Evidence, Tomorrow's Agenda, the report is the first of its kind from the U.N. agency. While there is a lack of data available - evidence in it is described as "too patchy and incomplete" to be comprehensive by the WHO's director in an accompanying statement - the report does conclude that societies are failing to meet the health care needs of women and calls for urgent action. Topics include HIV and the risks of unprotected sex, domestic abuse, gender inequality in treatment, and exploitation of female health care workers.

Read from the report: http://www.who.int/gender/women_health_report/en/index.html

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