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31 January 2012, Brussels

Gender inequalities and occupational diseases

Study day organised by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the Belgian Council for Equal Opportunities between Men and Women
Venue: SPF Emploi, Travail et Concertation sociale, rue Ernest Blerot 1, 1070 Brussels

The European Trade Union Institute and the Belgian Council for Equal Opportunities between Men and Women are staging a study day in Brussels on 31 January 2012 to look at gender inequalities and occupational diseases.

In most countries, the bulk of the health impacts among female workers continue to be ignored by the systems for reporting, recognition and compensation in respect of occupational diseases. These act as filters of various kinds (conceptual, institutional, legislative, social and cultural) which draw a cloak of invisibility over work-related impacts on women’s health, in particular cancers and mental health issues. Such effects are even reduced when the female workers are on insecure contracts or are migrants.

This sort of situation leads to a vicious circle: there is less prevention in sectors with a high proportion of female workers, meaning that less attention is paid to the work-related health problems occurring there, and bolstering the stereotypical view that women’s work is less dangerous to health.

During this study day, speakers from Quebec, Finland, France and Belgium will be focusing on analysing how these inequalities in treatment between men and women actually operate, and how it is possible to rebuild the career path and get recognition for an occupational disease.

The Council for Equality between Men and Women and the European Trade Union Institute hope in this way to contribute towards raising the awareness of the many players involved in recording, recognising, compensating and preventing diseases caused by work.

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