Founded in 1996, the European Institute of Women’s Health (EIWH) is a non-governmental organisation aiming to promote gender equity in public health, research and social policies across Europe. In striving to achieve the highest standard of health for all, society’s health policies must recognise that women and men-due to their biological differences, their access to resources and their gender roles-have different needs and are faced with different obstacles and opportunities. This mission requires a gender-sensitive approach.
The EIWH aims to reduce inequalities in health, in particular due to gender, age and socio-economic status by highlighting that gender/sex is an important determinant of health and our understanding how vulnerability to, onset and progression of specific diseases vary in men and women must be improved.
EIWH has worked on various European projects related to gender, including the DG SANCO co-funded project, Inventory of Good Practices for Promoting Gender Equity in Health (ENGENDER), which included a launch at the European Parliament in Brussels and generation of six policy briefings on gender in research and healthcare, DG Research and DG CONNECT— helping to increase awareness of women’s health issues and promoting synergies with other EU programmes in the fields of health and research. The EIWH is partner of iSAC (Innovative solutions for the Attention of Citizens), a DG Connect co-funded project using Information & Communication Technology (ICT) to disseminate health information to citizens.
The EIWH advocates for gender-sensitive approach to prevention, biomedical research, treatment and care and to that end has organised roundtables at the European Parliament to highlight health topics—such as smoking prevention. The EIWH’s awareness and advocacy events, include Roundtables at the European Parliament and policy briefings to reduce the chronic disease burden.
The EIWH is represented on a variety of ethics boards, advisory and steering groups including but not limited to the FP7 funded project EUROmediCAT (Safety of medication use in pregnancy), the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) funded project, Electronic Health Records for Clinical Research (EHR4CR), European Partnership Action Against Cancer, European Public Health Alliance Policy Co-ordination Group, European Patients Forum Policy committee, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry and Associations (EFPIA) Patient/Industry think tank, European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, and Supporting Active Ageing through Immunisations (SAATI). EIWH is member of the Non-communicable Disease Alliance, partner with European Centre of Prevention and Disease Control (ECDC) on European Antibiotics Awareness Day. The EIWH sits on the Patient and Consumer Working Party (PCWP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Peggy Maguire, Director General of the EIWH, a political scientist has been working at EU level highlighting the need for gender equity. She has worked with the Commission External Advisory Group on ageing and disability, and WHO expert group on gender mainstreaming. P. Maguire initiated many research projects and publications on behalf of the European Institute of Women's Health, including the development of a cancer information site for women and families. Her publications include: Women’s Health in Europe-Facts and Figures across the EU; Discrimination Against Women and Young Girls in Health Sector; and Reducing Health Inequalities. She is currently the President of the European Public Health Alliance.
Hildrun Sundseth, President of the EIWH, is responsible for the Institute’s strategy and advocacy for an equitable and gender-sensitive approach in health policy, research, treatment and care. She is the author of various EIWH policy papers including women in bio-medical research and clinical trials, and Horizon 2020–Agenda for Women’s Health. Before joining the EIWH, she headed the Brussels Office of the European Cancer Patient Coalition after 20 years’ experience for the political and policy work with the EU institutions as Director of European Government Affairs for one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies.
Kristin Semancik, Research and Policy Officer at the EIWH, has extensive experience working in government, academia, industry, research and non-profit sector in health and politics in both the United States and Europe. K. Semancik is currently completing her Ph.D. at Trinity College Dublin, studying the effect of the EU on healthcare systems both qualitatively and quantitatively. At the EIWH, Kristin has worked in several EU projects, including the ENGENDER project; she was responsible for the drafting of the policy briefings in six policy areas relating to gender and health and generating materials for the project launch.