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Women’s Health

Gov Wolf, Stakeholders Sound Alarm on Anti-Choice Legislation

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Governor Tom Wolf was joined by stakeholders and community members today to discuss the harmful effects of anti-electoral legislation through the General Assembly and reaffirmed his commitment to protecting reproductive rights in Philadelphia.

“Pennsylvanians have the right to make their own health decisions knowing that they are receiving the best possible care from their doctor and not tied to miles and miles of bureaucracy,” said Gov. Wolf. “While politicians claim to be pro-life, in reality they are anti-election laws and anti-election laws don’t help pregnant women or doctors. These bills do not reduce maternal mortality, improve health care outcomes for pregnant women or babies, nor do they provide any assistance that would help a person’s circumstances. “

Governor Wolf was joined by Signe Espanoza, Interim Executive Director for Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania Advocates (PPPA).

“Today, every day, we fight for the right to sexual and reproductive health care,” said Signe Espinoza, PPPA Interim Executive Director. “Governor Wolf’s unwavering commitment to veto anti-abortion laws is the energy we need from every elected official in Pennsylvania.”

This week the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed anti-electoral laws after Governor Wolf vetoed any anti-electoral legislation that lands on his desk.

“Rather than shaming and criminalizing health care, members should focus on issues that support Pennsylvanians,” said Governor Wolf. “Until legislators stop trying to obstruct freedom of choice in health care, I vow to continue advocating for Pennsylvanian health care rights and vetoing anti-electoral laws.”

Members of the General Assembly who were able to attend shared their perspectives:
“Pregnant women, not Harrisburg politicians, must have the power to make these tough decisions,” said Art Haywood, Senate chairman for health and social affairs. “The House of Representatives’ anti-electoral legislation restricting the reproductive rights and power of women in Pennsylvania is wrong. I encourage all Pennsylvanians to stand up for women’s suffrage now. “

“It is dismaying that my colleagues across the aisle insist on putting regressive anti-abortion laws to the vote – laws that undermine any progress in expanding reproductive health autonomy and cause more pain. For months, my fellow Women’s Health Caucus and those who stand by us have been investing time, energy and resources to defend the rights of Pennsylvanians and their personal health choices, “said Morgan Cephas, vice chairman of the Women’s Health Committee. “The people of Pennsylvania deserve so much better. We are grateful that Governor Wolf is standing by our side and working to keep these bills passed this week from becoming law in Pennsylvania. “

Other members of the General Assembly were unable to attend due to the meeting, but also shared their views on this harmful legislation:
“Pennsylvania is one of the most dangerous states to be a pregnant person,” said Rep. Mary Isaacson, D-Phila. “The maternal mortality rate is skyrocketing and Republican lawmakers are refusing to provide job protection for pregnant people. Alleged “pro-life” lawmakers are nothing more than puppets for national anti-abortion lobbyists who care for pregnant people and their families. But the proposed abortion bans and restrictions, some of which have been passed, are unconstitutional and restrict access to health care, destroy medical privacy, and increase maternal mortality. The Republican Party’s obsession with banning reproductive rights and reproductive health care is disgusting. The unconstitutional bills they enforce are harmful to pregnant women and are opposed by medical professionals and even disability advocates. Thank you, Governor Wolf, for swearing that you would veto all of these measures and for leaving the choice of health care to each of the pregnant people who will affect them. “

“I said it when we Gov. Wolf in Narberth earlier this month, but I am so grateful to have his support on this incredibly important topic. His promise to veto reproductive health care laws is a relief as we continue to advocate for women and families, ”said MP Mary Jo Daley. However, it is still very frustrating that we must continue to withstand these attacks instead of working collaboratively to find real solutions to real problems that all Pennsylvanians face. “

Senator Schwank stated, “Unnecessary obstacles to reproductive health care will never prevent abortion. Instead, women will be forced to make drastic decisions that affect their health and safety. Rather than trying to limit a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions, let us increase funding for programs that expand access to contraception and real health options. These are deeply personal and difficult decisions that many women face at some point in their lives. They should be done by women after consulting their doctors, not politicians. “

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Women’s Health

Too few women get to invent – that’s a problem for women’s health

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MacArthur Genius and MIT Professor Linda Griffith has built an epic career as a scientist and inventor, including developing a human ear on a mouse. Now she spends her days deciphering the biological mechanisms underlying endometriosis, a disease in which uterine-like tissue grows outside the uterus. Endometriosis can be brutally painful, is regularly misdiagnosed and misunderstood, and has affected Griffith’s life along with the lives of over 6 million other women in the United States

Griffith’s research and inventions have the potential to dramatically improve women’s health. The problem for women is that she stands out for another reason: she’s feminine. In 2020, only 12.8% of U.S. inventors who were granted patents were women, and in the past, male researchers have ignored conditions like endometriosis.

Male researchers tend to downplay or even completely overlook women’s medical needs. The result is that innovation has mainly focused on what men choose to research. My colleagues John-Paul Ferguson, Sampsa Samila, and I show in a newly published study that patented biomedical inventions in the United States made by women benefit women’s health 35% more than biomedical inventions made by men.

Bias by the Numbers

To determine which inventions are female, male, or neutral, we analyzed the title, abstract, and beginning of the summary text of 441,504 medical patents using the National Library of Medicine’s Medical Text Indexer. The indexer uses machine learning to categorize the subject of a text document, including whether it has female or male focus.

Our data shows that inventions by research teams that are predominantly or entirely male are significantly more likely to target the medical needs of men. In 34 of the 35 years from 1976 to 2010, male-majority teams produced hundreds more inventions that focused on the needs of men than those that focused on the needs of women. These male inventors were more likely to generate patents that addressed issues such as “erectile” or “prostate” rather than “menopause” or “cervix”. Male inventors also tended to target diseases and conditions such as Parkinson’s and sleep apnea, which disproportionately affect men.

Conversely, inventions patented by research teams comprised primarily or entirely of women were more likely to be geared towards the needs of women in all of our 35 years of data. These patents are more likely to cover conditions such as breast cancer and postpartum preeclampsia, as well as conditions that disproportionately affect women such as fibromyalgia and lupus. In 1976, however, only 6.3% of patents were invented by teams with as many women as men. By 2010 it was only 16.2%. As a result, while inventions by women were more likely to be women-centric, such patents were rare because so few inventors were women.

We found that from 1976 to 2010, biomedical invention was centered more on the needs of men than women in teams of inventors of all genders. Our calculations suggest that if there were equal representation of inventors in this period, 6,500 more inventions with a woman focus would have been added. In percentage terms, equal representation would have resulted in 12% more inventions aimed at women.

Pay attention to the needs of women

There are also more subtle benefits to having more women inventing. Women inventors are more likely to see how existing treatments for non-gender-specific diseases such as heart attacks, diabetes and strokes can be improved and adapted to the needs of women. In fact, women are more likely to test whether their ideas and inventions affect men and women differently: For example, whether a drug has more undesirable side effects in women than in men.

In our study, we found that even in narrow disease areas such as atrial flutter, women are more likely to see opportunities to tailor their inventions to the specific health needs of women. Our results suggest that increasing representation should counteract these invisible distortions.

The growing number of women inventors is starting to fill the gap. In three of the five years from 2006 to 2010, the US granted more patents to women than men. In fact, since 2010 there has been a boom in women-owned startups developing new and disruptive products for women’s health, from new types of period underwear to smart breast pumps.

Pay attention to the gaps

Increasing the number of women inventors is important to improve women’s health care, but increasing the number of women scientists is not enough. It is also the case that women scientists are 40% less likely to commercialize their research ideas than women scientists. The causes of this gender gap are many, from differences in care to prejudice in the early feedback women receive when trying to commercialize ideas geared towards women.

Regardless of the underlying causes, the result is that although almost 33% of the published scientific discoveries in 2010 were created by predominantly female research teams, only 16.2% of the patents in the same year were invented by predominantly female inventor teams. As with the invention, we found that female scientists’ scientific discoveries, as measured by published research, were 12% more likely to benefit women than men’s discoveries. At least in the short term, helping women scientists to commercialize their current research should increase the number of women inventors and the number of inventions aimed at women.

In general, our results show how demographic inequalities among those who are allowed to invent lead to demographic inequalities among those who benefit from inventions. Recent work shows how increasing the number of black doctors benefits black patients and, more generally, the benefits of bringing minority patients together with minority doctors. This suggests that not only does the world need more inventors like Griffith at MIT, but more inventors like Dr. Patricia Bath, the first black woman to receive a US medical patent. Bath’s invention of laser cataract removal was inspired by her observation that black Americans are twice as likely to go blind as white Americans.

Whether gender or race, the bias as to who is allowed to conduct research and market inventions is more than a question of the players. It’s also about who benefits from progress.

This article was republished by The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here: https://theconversation.com/too-few-women-get-to-invent-thats-a-problem-for-womens-health-162576.

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Women’s Health

Female-Focused Smartwatches That Look Smart Too

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From the discreetly elegant Apple Hermès with a rectangular case to the glittering Michael Kors round dial to the sporty Tag Heuer by tennis star Naomi Osaka, you might think that women have a large selection when it comes to digital watches. But Garmin, the tech giant, saw a loophole.

In January, Garmin introduced Lily, a smart-looking smartwatch. It combines what Garmin is known for – performance monitoring devices – with something the company had never tried before: a traditional, minimalist jewelry watch.

On a video call, Kirsten Erikson, Product Marketing Manager at Garmin said, “We found a niche in the market, especially for women, and realized that some hadn’t been able to choose a smartwatch because they felt it was too big and too sporty . ”Or too technical looking.” Together with a women’s team, Ms. Erikson orchestrated the production of a “fashionable-looking watch for small wrists” – a new smartwatch “for women by women,” as the company is promoting it.

After the team had put together hundreds of pictures of classic jewelry watches, the team started with a round case with a diameter of 34 millimeters – significantly smaller than current Smart models with dials over 40 millimeters in diameter. That choice posed a challenge: making small-scale tracking capabilities available and fitting into a battery that lasts five days has exceeded technical limits.

In contrast to digital dials, which turn black when not in use, Lily shows a selection of patterns that reflect the monograms of fashion houses and the guilloche dials of analog timepieces.

One touch of the screen activates a pedometer and calorie tracker, as well as tracking applications for exercises such as yoga, pilates and mindful breathing. What makes Lily stand out, however, are unexpected, women-centric features like menstrual cycle monitoring and pregnancy.

Some may raise their eyebrows at a watch that goes against the current trend towards gender neutral design, but the commercial numbers show that Garmin got that niche right. Although the company does not publish sales figures, it said well over 50 percent of Lily customers are new to Garmin. Lily’s marketing strategy to promote Lily has also helped grow the company’s overall female customer base: women buy more than half of the generic wellness watches Garmin sells.

Sarah Willersdorf, Global Head of Luxury at the Boston Consulting Group, is not surprised. In an email, she wrote that she believed the pandemic had placed an emphasis on health and wellness. Women’s health is a large and growing market, according to the Boston Group, expected to reach over $ 45 billion worldwide by 2026 – three times the size it is today.

“This growth is being driven by many factors, including a much more open discussion about women’s health – like fertility, menstruation, and menopause – and creativity in this area with a number of companies dealing with everything from tracking apps to nutritional supplements and wearables like the Garmin watch, are innovative. “Wrote Mrs. Willersdorf.

Attracting women has recently been the focus of several established analog luxury houses, including Zenith and Breitling. Garmin’s move signals that the booming wearable device market, valued at around $ 73 billion by 2022, may find additional leverage among women.

The $ 199 (Garmins can cost over $ 400) Lily comes with silicone straps in muted neutrals and pastel colors for a sportier look. More traditional leather straps (at no extra charge) are available in gray, black, and white.

On the Garmin Instagram account, a woman with the username @ mum_on_the_run_3 commented: “It’s perfect if you don’t want to give up your tracker but are looking for something more elegant for an evening or a special occasion.”

She might agree with Ms. Erikson’s opinion: “With Lily, we created the watch that women didn’t know they needed.”

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Women’s Health

Together with refugees, we build a safer and more vibrant world – World

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June 20th is World Refugee Day and this year’s theme revolves around the power of inclusion – “Healing, learning and shining together”.

Every two seconds someone is forced to leave their home to flee the crisis. At least 100 million people have fled their homes in the past ten years, looking for refugees either inside or outside the borders of their country. At the end of 2019, 79.5 million people were forcibly displaced worldwide.

This year’s World Refugee Day takes place against the backdrop of the global crisis and social change, as the COVID-19 pandemic has left few lives and places untouched. The pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerability of women and girls, who make up around half of the displaced; they are at higher risk of gender-based violence, abuse and exploitation and have difficulty accessing justice, health and emergency services.

The critical gaps in gender equality are a major driving force behind the Generation Equality Forum, which will be held in Paris from June 30th to July 2nd. The forum will announce a series of catalytic coalitions of action with acceleration plans in key areas that matter to all women and girls – from gender-based violence to climate change, technology, health and economies that leave women and girls behind.

On World Refugee Day, here are some voices from refugees and displaced people who, despite many challenges, work every day for a stronger, safer and more vibrant world. Generation Equality is #withrefugees today and every day.

Empowering women, youth and people with disabilities in Jordan

“In 2012 a bomb hit my house in Dar’aa [Syria], and with this one bomb my life completely changed, “says Ibsam Sayeed Ahmed, 40.” The current pain has turned into years of pain. I had to learn to walk again, adjust to having only one hand, to support myself and finally learn to live again. “

Ahmed fled to Jordan with her sister, but they were separated at the border amid the chaos of other fleeing people. Her sister returned to Dar’aa and was killed days later.

“I was all alone in the world,” says Ahmed.

“It was difficult to overcome all of my difficulties. My mobility wasn’t my only obstacle. To be a woman, alone in the camp, without support, was an additional burden for me. But I did it! I took every new step every day as it came and reminded myself to persevere. “

Ahmed got a position at the UN Women Oasis Center as a teaching assistant, educator and peer facilitator, which enabled her to support herself financially and to pay her medical bills. Today she actively supports women, young people and people with disabilities to stand up for their rights and to complete training.

“Empowering yourself is key to overcoming any barrier that lies in front of you. And by strengthening myself, I then had the confidence to strengthen others, ”she says.

Read more here.

Teaching girls to read and write in Bangladesh

“When I look around, I see that women and girls in the Rohingya community are treated less than men and do not have the same rights and opportunities,” says Rima Sultana Rimu, an 18-year-old peace activist at Cox’s Bazar. , Bangladesh, is home to one of the largest refugee settlements in the world.

“This year, all the problems that Rohingya girls and women face in the camps have been made much worse by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many girls have not attended school … Child marriages have increased in the camps and I have started a campaign to raise awareness of how harmful this can be for girls. “

When Rimu started campaigning for women’s rights, some of her family members were in opposition. They told her that she did not respect her religion and was behaving inappropriately. She carried on, determined.

“Most of the women and girls in the Rohingya community cannot read or write, so they cannot fully understand their rights,” says Rimu. “Without education, girls struggle to become economically empowered, which means that they can never determine their own future. Teaching girls to read and write is one of the greatest ways I can make a difference. “

“I feel very positive and strong. I love this job and have big plans for myself, ”she says. “Maybe one day I’ll even become Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Why not? I will not stop until every woman and girl is aware of their rights and can live happily and safely on an equal footing. “

Read more here.

The power of sport to change the lives of refugees in Luxembourg

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, Yonas Kinde has been swapping the cheers of international races for the sounds of nature during early morning runs in the forest near his home in Luxembourg.

Five years after participating in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio as part of the very first refugee Olympic team, Kinde is now adapting his training to his other responsibilities – studying pharmaceutical logistics and working in a hospital pharmacy that distributes Covid19 vaccinations. “In this difficult moment, it makes me happy that I can help that I can do something for the COVID patients,” he says.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, displaced doctors, nurses and pharmacists like children have worked on the front lines to contain the spread of the virus, treat patients and help people get vaccinated. But long-distance running remains a child’s passion. He rarely spends a day without training.

On World Refugee Day, UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, calls on communities and governments to include refugees in health care, education and sport. Giving refugees the opportunity to exercise can help them gain confidence and feel welcome and accepted in their new communities.

“I’ve met a lot of important people in my life thanks to sport,” he said. “Sport has given me a family, not just in Luxembourg, but all over the world.”

Working at the forefront of COVID-19 prevention in Uganda

In the Bidibidi refugee and displaced persons settlement in the Yumbe district of Uganda, the morning sun is hot as early as 9 a.m. A standing group of women gather around a borehole to collect water. You will repeat this task again in the evening.

40-year-old Joyce Maka is waiting for more women to arrive at the water collection point. The mother of three is a refugee herself; She came from South Sudan in 2018 after the rebels killed her husband. Today she is one of the 12 peace mediators in the settlement and is here to raise awareness of preventive and health protection measures to combat COVID-19.

“We encourage them to stay at least two meters apart; we also encourage them to wash their hands before and after pumping water, ”explains Maka.

As the number of COVID-19 cases rose in Uganda, peace mediators, who resolve community disputes and challenges, joined the fight against the pandemic in refugee settlements in the Yumbe and Adjumani counties, which border South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

They meet on the street for personal conversations and ensure that every household has a hand-washing area, clean shelves for storing utensils and access to toilets.

Read the story here.

Example of solidarity in Turkey

Najmat Alsabah Mustafa is a Syrian community leader in Gaziantep, Turkey. As part of the “Home to Home Solidarity Program”, which is jointly run by UN Women and the Foundation for the Support of Women’s Work (KEDV), she learned leadership skills and now helps vulnerable Turkish and Syrian women with access to health care, legal aid and psychosocial services Social assistance and livelihood.

Between December 2019 and April 2020, Mustafa and her colleagues visited 764 Syrian and Turkish women. However, when COVID-19 prevention measures made home visits difficult, community leaders began using their phones to keep in touch with vulnerable women and provide assistance when needed.

“Through phone calls, I discovered that Syrian women’s housework doubled during COVID-19,” says Mustafa.

“I speak to a lot of women who are over 65 years old. They tell me how the situation affected them psychologically. We support each other through the solidarity groups. Women talk about their needs and problems and together we try to find solutions. We also share our own experiences and ideas on how to share housework among family members, ”she adds.

“As women, we are among the most severely affected by COVID-19 in our community. Due to community pressure, many cannot complain about their conditions. Thanks to the program, we can reach women and ensure that their voice is heard by relevant institutions. “

“If we support each other, we can overcome all challenges,” added Mustafa.

Read more here.

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