Online Dialogue on
Women and Health
Follow-up to the Beijing Conference on Women

15 September to 21 September

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Moderator's Highlights

(The views presented here are those of the moderator's; they do not necessarily reflect the views and position of the United Nations)

In this final week, participants gave their recommendations to be considered by the forthcoming Expert Group Meeting on Women and Health to be held in Tunisia from September 28 to October 2. There was a surprise appearance at the Online Dialogue by Gertrude Mongella who protested that high expenditures on the military took away precious resources for women's welfare. Representatives from Unicef, the World Bank, the Canadian government, UNDCP as well as NGOs from all regions of the world exchanged views on policy issues affecting nursing, women with disabilities, violence against women, female genital mutilation, drug abuse, mental health, reproductive rights, health care reform and access to health services. Emphasis was also given to the need to look at basic social, cultural and economic determinants of women's control over their own bodies.

Among the recommendations was the need to look at women's health through a life cycle approach from birth to old age and a comprehensive view of women's mental as well as physical health needs. Policy-oriented research should focus on major gaps in knowledge such as how gender bias affects medical research, medical outcomes, health behavior, uses of services, medical education, as well as home-care programs. Although NGOs have projects to monitor the commitments made by governments at the Beijing women's conference, there is still a need to have a "health-watch" (similar to Human Rights Watch) that would gather key indicators such as the death rate of girls and monitor progress. Many problems still have to be resolved including how to improve interaction with the private sector, but there was an optimism that the women and health movement can make progress.

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United Nations
Division for the Advancement of Women
2 UN Plaza, DC2-12th Floor
New York, NY 10017