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Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
1. Education, training and life-long learning Everyone has the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning in order to maintain and acquire skills that enable them to participate fully in society and manage successfully transitions in the labour market. 2. Gender equality Equality of treatment and opportunities between women and men must be ensured and fostered in all areas, including regarding participation in the labour market, terms and conditions of employment and career progression. Women and men have the right to equal pay for work of equal value.
The gender pay gap in the EU and the European Pillar of #SocialRights
1. The gender pay gap in the EU is 16.2%, that’s 16.2% higher than it should be! Gender equality is the second key principle of the European Pillar of #SocialRights for a reason 2. The European Pillar of #SocialRights supports the right to equal treatment and opportunities regarding employment, social protection, education, and access to goods and services available to the public. Something NCW Malta has supported since its creation!
Gender Equality in the Media Sector
This study was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality. It examines key elements of the European policy agenda pertaining to gender equality in the media sector. It also reviews existing research on women's representation within media content and the media workforce. The study provides analysis of actions to promote gender equality in the media at both EU and Member State levels. Finally, it presents case studies of gender equality in the media sector in four Member States: Austria, Malta, Sweden, and the UK.
Empowering women and girls in media and ICT
On the occasion of the International Women's Day, the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality is holding an inter-parliamentary committee meeting on empowering women and girls in media and ICT. The meeting, which will bring together EU institutional representatives, members of EU national parliaments, experts and stakeholders, will take place on 08 March 2018. The presentation and debates will deal with the topics of women shaping media, empowering women and girls through digital inclusion and women’s movements and advancing equality in the digital age.
Digital healthcare / health insurance
In the view of the EESC, given the digital revolution in the field of health, it is vital to maintain and promote a health insurance system which serves the needs of everyone, and is solidarity-based, inclusive and non-discriminatory. Inclusion and fair access for all to good quality health services (digital or otherwise) and commitment to these are in fact prerequisites for universal health coverage.
Gender equality in European labour markets
In order to improve gender equality in labour markets, the EESC considers it necessary to draw up an integrated and ambitious European strategy to tackle systemic and structural obstacles and lead to adequate policies, measures and EU funding programmes for improving equality between women and men, thus fostering "more equal economic independence of women and men" . This would also contribute to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Services to the family
Developing services in private homes in order to achieve a better work-life balance Every family has a home and clothes to maintain, meals to prepare, children to care for, elderly parents or ill or disabled family members who need help. Women often have to work part-time in order to carry out these tasks, missing out on the career for which they have trained or on time they would use for training.
Women and girls digital gender gap
This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee, attempts to reveal the links between the different factors (access, skills, socio-economic and cultural), which prevent women from having equal access to digital technology. It then suggests ways of dealing with online and offline inequalities to the effect of closing the digital gender gap and improving women’s and girls’ digital inclusion and future technology-related career paths.
Plastics, human health and environmental impacts: The road ahead
Plastics have been with us for more than a century, and by now they’re everywhere, for good and for ill. Plastic containers and coatings help keep food fresh, but they can also leave behind neurotoxins such as BPA in the human body. PVC is used for everything from pipes and flooring to furniture and clothes, but it contains compounds called phthalates that have been implicated in male reproductive disorders. Studies have also shown that childhood exposure to environmental pollutants can have significant negative effects later in life, including reduced labor force participation and even earnings.
European Commission aims to significantly reduce the gender pay gap
The European Commission plans to use a series of measures aimed at significantly reducing the pay gap between men and women over the next five years. The average gender pay gap in the EU currently stands at 18%. To lower this rate, the Commission plans to raise awareness among employers, encourage initiatives to promote gender equality and support the development of tools to measure the gender pay gap.
NCW Annual General Meeting 2019
NCW Annual General Meeting 2019 The Annual General Meeting of the National Council of Women was held on Saturday 26th January 2019, at The Victoria Hotel, Sliema. President Mary Gaerty spoke about the work which the Council has embarked on during 2018. This included pensions, education, violence against women, work and entrepreneurship, work life balance and the challenges faced by women on a daily basis. She also highlighted the fact that the National Council of Women is looking ahead at the constant changes
Work-life Balance
Better work-life balance for EU citizens: Presidency reaches provisional agreement with the European Parliament
The National Council of Women supports the Act to provide protection for human embryos
NCW has always advocated for legislation of alternative IVF treatment not least because of the sensitivity and the consequences for both parents and society if it had to remain unregulated. NCW believes that IVF treatment should be for heterosexuals within a stable family environment The Council has always supported the protection of embryos as the first cell of a human life and, with the development of alternative treatment over the past years this has become possible successfully.
Women on Boards: Vice-President Viviane Reding meets with leaders of Europe's business schools and i
Today, EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding met with European Industry Associations, European Business Schools and Senior Executive Women to discuss progress being made on improving the gender balance in company boardrooms.
UfM adopts new project to support women’s empowerment in the Mediterranean
A project aimed at developing women’s empowerment in the Mediterranean through the development of effective field projects and the setting up of networks and platforms, was adopted by Senior Officials of the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) at a meeting held last month.

Osteoporosis (Date: 01/01/2002)

What is osteoporosis?

Problems with bones can cause backache and bone pain. The most common cause of these is a condition called osteoporosis, in which the bones suffer demineralisation together with a loss of fibrous tissue components. Demineralisation means that the bones lose calcium, phosphate and other important minerals, becoming less solid and therefore increasingly weak and brittle. There is therefore thinning and weakening of the bone.
Bone is a constantly changing, living material. However, when the change involves a significant loss of bone, it is described as osteoporosis.

Symptoms

The condition may cause no symptoms at all or alternatively, it may give rise to bone pain and backache. Advanced cases suffer from deformities such as loss of height or a bent spine. This leads to continual backache, the spine becomes increasingly bent and very occasionally, the vertebrae can even crumble. The bones will tend to break rather easily, even as a result of some minor accident or trivial strain. A bad fall, compression of the spine in an accident and bone tumours will therefore cause bones affected by osteoporosis to break more easily.
The commonest fracture associated with the condition is collapse of one of the vertebrae of the spine. This may not hurt, or it may give rise to severe localised, unremitting pain that is intensified by movement. This may tend to improve without treatment over the next 2 or 3 months. In the long term, several of these fractures may occur and as a result the spine becomes shortened and bent, since the vertebrae often become wedge-shaped. The loss of height may sometimes be by as much as 15 cm. The intervertebral disc erode the surfaces of the vertebrae, making them concave. The net result is a shortening of the spine and the characteristic ’humped’ look and stoop often referred to as the ‘dowager’s hump’. About half of all women over 70 have osteoporosis therefore the name given to the kyphosis of elderly women. Kyphosis is the excessive backward curvature of the spine which, in its advanced form, is known as ‘hunchback’. Elderly people can develop a kyphosis as a result of osteoporosis. It is much more common in women than in men. Once a patient has develop kyphosis as a result of osteoporosis, treatment may be difficult and is unlikely to give much benefit. Calcium supplements may help to reduce pain from the bones. An osteoporotic fracture may be very painful and need painkillers.
The other common fracture sites are the hip and the wrist, which are more than usually vulnerable in old people whose poor balance and general stiffness make them liable to fall. If an elderly patient has osteoporosis, a relatively minor blow (trauma) will often be enough to break the hip-bone.


RISK FACTORS FOR OSTEOPOROSIS

Being elderly.
The most common cause is in fact age. From middle age onwards, everyone’s bones become lighter. This change is more marked in females after the menopause but in both men and women lighter bones are normal in old age. It is only when an excessive amount of bone is lost that symptoms of osteoporosis arise.



Being female.
Osteoporosis is much more common in women than in men. The contributing factor is the fluctuating hormonal levels in females usually not found in males.

Caucasian.
Osteoporosis affects white people more often than black people. The reason for this is still, as yet, unknown.

Thin body type.
Lightly-built, slim people are also more prone to it than more heavily built, stocky individuals.

Hypogonadism.
Low levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone, will lead to this condition.

Physical inactivity.
There is, however, one relatively common secondary cause generally described as immobilization and simply meaning that the patient is ‘laid up’ for some reason. Thus osteoporosis is often seen in the bones of a single limb which cannot be moved because of pain, paralysis or a broken – fractured – bone.

Steroid therapy.
Patients on long-term steroid therapy may also develop thinner bones (drugs to treat asthma, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions). These interfere with bone formation and remodelling.

Early menopause (<45 years)/hysterectomy.
This is particularly true if both ovaries are also removed before the age of 45. The situation will mimic an early menopause.

Low calcium/vitamin D.
Bones and teeth contain a large proportion of calcium. If low calcium levels are left untreated for months, other symptoms occur. The loss of calcium from the bones causes osteoporosis in elderly people. Many elderly people suffer from osteoporosis partly as a result of living on food with few vitamins. These people will benefit from additional calcium but their diet should really be generally improved. Vitamin D is also essential for maintaining our calcium balance. Without it, we cannot absorb calcium from our food.

Smoking
Smoking interferes with bone formation and with oestrogen levels.

High alcohol intake
Drinking excessive alcohol is known to reduce the body’s ability to absorb calcium – although the latest research shows that moderate, social drinking may increase bone density in women. So have a drink by all means, but stick to the generally accepted guidelines: 21 units a week for women and 28 for men.

Hereditary.
Having a close family history of osteoporosis does not help either since the condition has evidence of inheritance.
INVESTIGATIONS FOR OSTEOPOROSIS

Bone densitometry.
Bone density can be measured by a bone scanning machine called a Dual X-ray Absorptiometer (DEXA), which will measure the density of your bones and diagnose if you have osteoporosis.
X-rays
Often an X-ray taken for some other reason will reveal osteoporosis. However, a bone density loss of >30% must occur to be evident in X-rays.
Blood tests – for secondary conditions.
These are done mainly to check whether the patient has other diseases that have similar symptoms, or whether there is a disease which can cause secondary osteoporosis.

PREVENTION OF OSTEOPOROSIS

Can nothing be done to prevent osteoporosis? In some cases, total prevention is not possible but what can be done is to minimize all other contributing factors under our control, i.e.:

* Optimising peak bone mass:
* Exercise – must be regular and weight-bearing (such as walking or aerobics); excessive exercise may lead to bone loss.
* Dietary calcium/vitamin D – may be important, especially during growth.

* Reducing rate of bone mass loss:
* HRT
* Regular exercise
* Maintain calcium intake
* Moderate alcohol intake
* Stop smoking

OUTLOOK

Research is looking into newer and more effective drugs for treatment.However PREVENTION IS IMPORTANT. MAINTAINING MOBILITY at any age is of utmost importance.
Bone densitometry is the only available method of monitoring osteoporosis. For this reason, the service should be more readily available as a screening procedure in our national health service. Waiting lists of months should be banished and appointments should be available through one’s own GP.

Information compiled by Ms Doreen Micallef B.Sc., MLS, AIMLS.

For more information see also the following websites
www.nos.org.uk or www.nof.org

 
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