Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence Response to Government's Action Plan for Saskatchewan Women

Thursday, August 12 2010

Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence Response to Government's Action Plan for Saskatchewan Women

The Action Plan for Saskatchewan Women provides a framework for addressing women's issues in our province, and gives us a strong sense of broad strategic direction. It also ensures that we work with women's groups and share the responsibility of working to achieve equality for Saskatchewan women. This document is available in PDF format or by contacting swowebmaster@lab.gov.sk.ca or go to

The Government Initiatives Responding to Women's Issues is a companion piece to the Action Plan for Saskatchewan Women and outlines key issues identified by women through the consultation process as well as key government and crown sector initiatives that respond to the issues. This document is available in PDF format or by contacting swowebmaster@lab.gov.sk.ca

Response from the Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence was swift:

"We are pleased to see an Action Plan for Saskatchewan Women that has some commitments to improving women's health," says Lil Sabiston, Board member of Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence (PWHCE). "And because this Action Plan has been endorsed by all of the government departments we can expect that it will be implemented."

The Status of Women Office in Saskatchewan released its Action Plan for Saskatchewan Women earlier today.

"Improving health is about more than providing improved health services. Poverty, racism, family violence and the stress of balancing work and family responsibilities negatively affect women's health, while providing strong social supports has been shown to be especially beneficial for women with health care needs or who are acting as health care providers," states Joanne Havelock, Policy Analyst for PWHCE.

PWHCE developed its own Action Plan for Women's Health in Manitoba and Saskatchewan in 2001. The PWHCE Plan outlines priorities for addressing the social factors affecting women's health, and improving health services. Reducing poverty and addressing violence against women were identified as being crucial to improving women's health.

Around health care the PWHCE Plan recommends making particular efforts to address women's mental health and sexual and reproductive health, and improving conditions for formal and informal caregivers. The PWHCE Plan recommends that ways of delivering services and working with women that are already known to be successful with women should be used more. The health needs of Aboriginal women, older women, women with disabilities and women living in rural and remote areas are cited as needing particular attention. The PWHCE Plan stresses the value of expanding knowledge about women's health, and increasing women's role as decision-makers.

"The Government of Saskatchewan's plan covers some of the issues that PWHCE research has identified as important to women's health," says Judy Hughes, PWHCE Board member. "Increased access to affordable housing and improvements to home care are two examples. Improving women's economic security, ensuring safety and increasing participation in decision-making will also improve their health and well-being."

During the seven years of its operation, PWHCE has supported over sixty research projects.

"These research projects are a wealth of knowledge, that can be used by government to guide effective implementation of its policies," stated Joanne Havelock. "PWHCE reports have emphasized the value of using Gender Based Analysis (GBA) to examine the real impacts that programs and policies have on girls and women. It is important that the government carry through on its promise to train policy-makers on GBA and have decisions going to Cabinet reviewed for their potential effects on girls and women."

"I am looking at the Action Plan for the Saskatchewan Women as a document to build on in the future," says Lil Sabiston. "I hope the government will continue to consult women and women's organizations in the implementation of its Action Plan."

Hughes concludes, "The initiatives in the Action Plan for Saskatchewan Women are intended to address issues affecting women, but not all are focused on women or girls. Women of the province and the government will need to ensure that these actions are carried out and that they truly benefit women."

The Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence funds community-based research on the social factors affecting women's health in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. To date the Centre has supported over 60 projects dealing with a wide range of issues, for women from many backgrounds. PWHCE's current research is focusing on Aboriginal women, women living in poverty and women living in rural and remote areas. PWHCE studies are available at: http://www.pwhce.ca/

There are four Centres of Excellence for Women's Health across Canada. The Centres provide opportunities for community-based women's health groups, service providers and academic researchers to conduct policy-focused research on women's health.

For more details or interviews contact:
Joanne Havelock, Policy Analyst
Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence
Regina, Saskatchewan
Email: pwhce@uregina.ca
Phone: (306) 585-5727 Fax: (306) 585-5872
Cell: (306) 529-5749

Margaret Haworth-Brockman, Executive Director
Prairie Women's Health Centre of Excellence
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Email: m.haworth-brockman@uwinnipeg.ca
Phone: (204) 982-6630, Fax: (204) 982-6637

 

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