International Women’s Day 2021: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world

International Women's Day 2021

The impacts of crises are never gender-neutral, and COVID19 is no exception. 

As the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic wraps up, its impact on women’s lives and wellbeing globally becomes more and more clear. Women are at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19, as front-line and health sector workers, as scientists, doctors and caregivers, yet they get paid 11% less globally than their male counterparts, as a  UN Secretary-General’s recent report highlights. An analysis of COVID-19 task teams from 87 countries also found that only 3.5% of them had gender parity. 

«When women lead, we see positive results. Some of the most efficient and exemplary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic were led by women. And women, especially young women, are at the forefront of diverse and inclusive movements online and on the streets for social justice, climate change and equality in all parts of the world. Yet, women under 30 are less than 1% of parliamentarians worldwide».  

For this year’s International Women Day, we must do our part in recognizing these disparities as well as supporting women’s access to leadership roles to build a more resilient society. EPF’s is starting with supporting our Members in their efforts to improve women’s health: 


The  European Institute of Women's Health

The  European Institute of Women's Health is part of  ConcePTION, a 5-year European research project supported by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public-private partnership between the European Union and the European pharmaceutical industry.  

Conception is a project that will examine and improve the services for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding that is traditionally excluded from medical research due to safety concerns. As a result, only 5 % of medications have adequate safety information about their use in pregnant or breastfeeding women, making it very hard for doctors and women to make informed decisions about their treatment. Regardless of this, 90 % of women are exposed to prescription medications at some point during their pregnancy. The goal of ConcePTION is to create a trusted biomedical ecosystem that can provide evidence-based information on the safety of medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding in efficient, systematic and ethically responsible ways. 


The European Liver Patients’ Association

The European Liver Patients’ Association is celebrating International Women’s Day with the event Successful women in ELPA’s family. On 8 March 2021, at 10 AM (CET), ELPA will organize a talk dedicated to highlighting some success stories of women involved in ELPA. The meeting will be live-streamed on ELPA social media and it will be possible to follow it on  Facebook  and  YouTube. 


The International Bureau for Epilepsy

The International Bureau for Epilepsy  is conducting a  survey  in Europe to understand how well-informed women of childbearing age are on the risks involved in epilepsy and pregnancy and how well this information is understood. 

We need to establish current demographics and the shortfall in knowledge in this very important area for both the mother and her unborn child. The survey is the first part of a Europe-focused project on Epilepsy & Pregnancy, the results of which will inform on the design and delivery of future interventions through the development of a multi-faceted toolkit. If Phase One is successful, the programme will be rolled out in other regions. 


The European AIDS Treatment Group 

For this year's International Women’s Day, the European AIDS Treatment Group has contributed and co-signed a statement led by Coalition PLUS, an international network of community-based NGOs fighting AIDS and viral hepatitis, on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). PrEP is a prevention tool that can benefit all populations with high risk exposure to HIV, including women. However, women do not have adequate access to this prevention tool in Europe. 


The World Federation of Incontinent Patients

The World Federation of Incontinent Patients is celebrating today’s International Women’s Day with new resources dedicated to women on their Digital Platform 'Support in Continence'.  Incontinence is a condition that is rarely talked about and often misunderstood. Bringing down barriers and helping women get access to accurate, useful information on incontinence causes and treatments is a goal that thWFIPP community is proud to celebrate today, and every day. 


The European Migraine and Headache Alliance

The European Migraine and Headache Alliance is launching the European campaign #andAlsoMigraine, to give visibility to migraine in women as what it is: one more obstacle in their daily lives. Women face a wide range of problems on a daily basis that affect them and limit them in almost all areas of their lives (work, social, sexual, cultural, emotional, physical...). Migraine is part of this vast list of obstacles, as the second most disabling illness and the one most suffered by women. 


Mental Health Europe

To mark International Women’s Day, Mental Health Europe (MHE) is celebrating female heroes in Europe’s mental health – women who advanced the field of mental health in recent years and those who were pioneers throughout history. Every day, women across Europe interact with the mental health system in various ways: as service users, service providers, caregivers, and advocates. You can read their stories here.


EPF is proud to share the efforts of those who are making a difference in women’s well-being, every day.