Maternal health care in the EU

08.12.21

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

In this together: Share the Care, Transform Tomorrow

02.07.22

UN New York, HLPF - Join us on July 11th for a discussion on how #SharingTheCare at every level - family, community, governments and private sector - is vital for

Lire plus

An almost Perfect Mother – New Podcast series with Isabelle Roskam

26.04.22

We are delighted to be launching our new podcast series An almost Perfect Mother featuring Isabelle Roskam, professor of development and parenting psychology at the University of Louvain, Belgium. Isa

Lire plus

Friendship NGO at the forefront of the fight against climate change

09.12.21

Our associate member in Bangladesh, Friendship NGO, responds to the call for input into an upcoming UN report on Human Rights and Climate Change.

Lire plus
See all the articlesof the category

News from the MMM European Delegation

MMM seeks academic partner for new EU Survey

06.12.22

We are searching for an academic partner for an EU survey on issues concerning mothers to be used as a lever for change.

Read more

MMM Response to the EU Care Strategy

18.11.22

We need care when we are very young or very old, experiencing sickness or disability and the people who provide this care are indispensable actors in European economies and societies.

Read more

In search of a cure for PCOS
The SPIOMET4Health project

30.09.22

MMM is participating in an EU project, SPIOMET4Health, which aims at providing a treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a leading cause of infertility, while raising awareness about the prevalence of t

Read more

Our member in Romania acts for Ukraine mothers & children

21.06.22

The ongoing conflict and resulting humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has had a devastating impact on the mental and physical health of mothers and their children, on both those who have fled and those who have sta

Read more

MMM contributes to EU Care Strategy

18.05.22

In these unprecedented times, when Europe is navigating a global pandemic, when political tensions are boiling over threatening to destabilize the global order, it is vital to reflect on the people who hold the

Read more

MMM connects gender pension gap and mothers’ ability to receive long term care in old age

11.05.22

Our contribution to the EU Commission's Call for evidence: “Access to affordable and high-quality long-term care” The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to strengthen the European care economy. To e

Read more