Advancing toward true equality of men and women
by Sefana Boucherit on January 6, 2015 - 1:33pm
In 2012, one of the campaign pledge of the french President Francois Hollande, was to create the ministry of women's rights, a promise that he used to honor until 2014 when the ministry has been repealed during a reshufle. During her short mandate, the Minister of Women's Rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, was very productive, she launched for instance a plan for « True Equality Between Women and Men ». This report is extracted from the plan and reveals the key figure to understanding the health of women in France.
First concerning life expectancy, If women have a life expectancy at birth of « 84.7 years against 78 years for men», the gap narrows when you consider life expectancy in good health at birth (63.5 years for women and 61.9 years for men).
On the prevention of smoking, the increase in smoking among women appear to be fairly strong in the last five years, notably for the 45-64 aged women with an increase seven points for the 45- 54, and six points for the 55-64. Nearly one in two women unemployed smoke while this proportion is nearly one woman in every three jobs.
Concerning the prevention of risky behaviours, women are diagnosed with depression much more often than men. Depressions are mostly due to more precarious economic and social situations which foster more depressive disorders in the private sphere (single mothers) or professional (job shortly qualified, part-time work, unemployment …). Concerning sexual health and reproduction, France is the world leader in the use of medical contraception (pill and IUD). The pill is indeed the method most used by women in France; or condoms (16%). Despite this development, the number of abortions has remained relatively stable since 2006. This is the result of two phenomena: on one hand, we observe a decline in unintended pregnancies thanks to the spread of contraceptive methods, but on the other hand we cannot but notice an increase in abortions in cases of unwanted pregnancies in order to choose when to become parents. Since 2012, abortion is refunded 100%, and since 2013, contraception of the minor over 15 years is also refunded 100%.
Finally, although the incidence of AIDS among women is lower than that among men, the proportion of women has increased steadily since the beginning of the epidemic for several reasons. Women are more vulnerable to HIV infection during sexual intercourse due to « biological factors and to their economic vulnerability which causes difficulties in access to information and prevention, in the negotiation of prevention with their partners ». Women are also more numerous than men to report having had a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
This article is based on a report of the french Ministry of Women's right. This report is part of the brief but definite attempt to improve the status of women in France. Indeed, although the Ministry of Women's Rights under de Hollande presidency, existed only for 2 years, its ministery, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, tried to work to make the place of women more comfortable within society. Although this attempt failed, studies, plans have been launched and the results will surely contributed to fémninist fightings in the next decade.