The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) released its new Gender Equality Index. Equality between women and men is a fundamental value of the EU and EIGE’s task is to make this a reality in Europe and beyond. This includes becoming a European knowledge centre on gender equality issues, supporting gender mainstreaming in all EU and Member State policies, and fighting discrimination based on sex. This year’s Index focuses on the links between health and gender equality – an area which the coronavirus pandemic has exposed more than ever.
The findings show, for example, that women are overrepresented in the healthcare sector and therefore face a higher risk of contracting the virus. Healthcare workers also faced acute mental distress during the pandemic from being overworked and seeing patients suffer and die. Further, Men with COVID-19 were at higher risk of hospitalisation than women. This is linked to their health behaviours and pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which are more common among men.
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