17 Oct 2023
The Community Foundation for Northern Ireland welcome and support the call for a dedicated Women Health Strategy for Northern Ireland to improve health outcomes and health services for all women and girls within our society.
Speaking today, Dawn Shackels, Director of Programmes at the Community Foundation said:
“The Community Foundation, along with women leaders from a number of grassroots organisations are supporting the call for dedicated and properly resourced Women’s Health Strategy for Northern Ireland.
“Despite Scotland, England and the Republic of Ireland prioritising women’s health, and Wales working towards finalising their actions, women in Northern Ireland are currently at a huge disadvantage in the absence of a dedicated and adequately resourced strategy.
“In November last year, the Community Foundation worked with women leaders from a wide range of grassroots groups to deliver a women’s engagement event titled ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’. Over 200 local women participated, for some it was the first time that they had been involved in discussions about issues that impacted them specifically, including the lack of a women’s health strategy here.
“They told us the strategy needed a life-cycle approach and must look at issues such as early and accurate diagnosis on a range of health conditions and tackling health inequalities being felt most by women in local communities here.
“Research highlights that there are a wide range of biological factors that impact on women’s health specifically. Women and girls experience various health needs and risks during their lives which are not the same for men. This may relate to starting and managing periods, choosing contraception, planning for pregnancy, managing menopause symptoms and chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and much, much more.
“Our political institutions must listen to the experience of women and girls and design health systems around their needs. Women must be visible, vocal and valued at all levels of decision making.”
Engaging grassroots women on a wide range of issues that affect and matter to them will be a key focus of the Community Foundation’s work over the coming years under the banner of the Nothing About Us Without Us initiative.
The Foundation will continue to work closely with a coalition of women from grassroots organisations to spotlight important issues that impact on women’s lives.