Maternal health care in the EU


This autumn, EIGE (European Institute for Gender Equality) released its Gender Equality Index Report. This year’s Index focuses on the links between health and gender equality. 

Mothers Matter participated at the preparatory experts’ meetings organised by EIGE in early 2021 and contributed with its position paper on Maternal Health Care in the EU and subsequently, summarized it in a policy brief.

Gender inequalities in earnings and income are closely related to care duties for children – or other family members – which fall disproportionately on mothers. This has severe negative effects on women’s income, affecting their health (e.g no access to health insurance in certain countries, lack of proper nutrition and healthy diet).

Despite many international and European legal instruments addressing the right to maternal health care, obstacles remain. Countless studies and investigations on Universal Health Coverage in the EU identify certain institutional and organizational barriers in accessing maternal health care, including: high out-of-pocket payments, language barriers and the absence of clear policies and information, a fear of being deported, geographic distances to medical facilities, and discriminatory attitudes by health care professionals. In addition, in some EU countries, accurate data is scarce.

EIGE’s Index is mostly based on 2019 data and therefore does not encapsulate the full impact of COVID-19 on gender equality. However, the report already indicates some of the consequences of the pandemic such as acute mental distress for health workers, limited access to reproductive health services, drop in birth rates, and an increase in unpaid care work for women. The Report states: “The crisis is exposing, as never before, the crucial links between paid and unpaid work, and between the economic and health spheres.”

These issues are at the core of MMM’s EU advocacy work.  We are therefore hopeful that the EU will use the Covid crisis as a unique opportunity to develop a transformative Care Strategy for both the formal and informal sectors. A well-balanced and sound Care Strategy would give a boost to gender equality in the EU by empowering women to choose and be able to access the most appropriate care services to their situation.

Access the full policy paper

Access to policy brief 

Most read articles

Leave no single mother Behind: solutions from across the world


UN New York, CSocD61 - The virtual event we are organizing as part of the 2023 UN Commission on Social Development will draw attention to the specificity of the situation

Lire plus

Women at the peace table: international Conference


Make Mothers Matter, together with the city of Ypres, and its grass roots partners Mothers for Peace, Mama Kivu and the Vrouwenraad, is organizing an international peace Conference Women at

Lire plus

Single Mothers within the European Union


Despite the growing number of families headed by a single parent, single parents remain one of the most vulnerable groups when it comes to poverty, housing and energy deficits, and

Lire plus
See all the articlesof the category

News from the MMM European Delegation

A Green Deal must include a Care Deal – maternal mental health under the spotlight at EU Parliament


On November 7th, we co-hosted an event at the EU Parliament on peripartum depression with MEP Maria Noichl.

Read more

Breaking the Silence on Maternal Mental Health


Make Mothers Matter launched a new video series on Maternal Mental Health, addressing mothers, their families and society in general. Our aim is to highlight the latest research surrounding maternal health in o

Read more

Call to action: make 2024 the EU year for Women’s Mental Health


In June this year, the European Union (EU) Commission announced a new high-priority initiative to address the mental health of all Europeans.

Read more

European Forum on Family Support


The EU Cost Action EurofamNet, of which Make Mothers Matter is a member, hosted its final conference entitled “European Forum on Family Support. Creating an Agenda for 2030” together with the Spanish Minist

Read more

Maternal Mental Health within the New EU Mental health proposal


MMM welcomes the European Commission’s new proposal addressing mental health and bringing a much-needed focus on various aspects of mental well-being. The proposal’s emphasis on mental health promotion, pr

Read more

Care on the move
The forgotten angle


Our Care on the Move conference took place at the European Parliament recently, where speakers from diverse backgrounds, ranging from academics, to policy-makers and representatives from civil society organizat

Read more