The health needs of women and men are defined and satisfied by health policies and the services offered. However, generally there is no recognition that the needs of men and women may not be the same, with a similarly different use of services, with the frequency and cause of health visits varying, and differences in the causes of hospitalisation and the prescription of treatment.
Gender also has an influence on the causes and the form in which women and men begin and continue to take substances such as alcohol, tobacco, psychotropics and other drugs, which also differs.
The social construction of gender makes women especially vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV infection. Similarly, the social construction of gender means many women have a double working day, assuming the burden of family care and the consequences of work discrimination which may prevent them from choosing and exercising maternity freely.
The Institute of Women, with its Health Programme, promotes the principle of equality of treatment and opportunities in public health policy, seeking the implementation of this strategy on a national and regional level.
A new Institute of Women Health and Gender website has been set up which features a wealth of up-to-date online information on programmes and activities, training, new developments, news, library and calendar. This website can be found at www.mujeressaludygenero.com