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B.C. Greens call for update to Women’s Health and Well-being Report

March 8, 2024
   4 min read
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For immediate release

March 8, 2024

VICTORIA, B.C. – In 2008, the Provincial Health Officer comprehensively assessed and addressed the health and well-being of women in British Columbia. As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, the B.C. Greens are calling on the BC NDP to prioritize and update the report, which has not been revised since 2011.

“At a time when reproductive rights and sexual health access are under assault in jurisdictions around the world, British Columbia must lean in,” said Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley. “Updating the Women’s Health and Well-being report means we have up to date information to make better policies, address inequalities, and promote gender equality in our rapidly evolving world.”

Despite progress in women’s health care in B.C., women encounter persistent challenges that leave many without adequate support. From disparities in rural health access to increased risks facing marginalized communities, it’s essential we take an inclusive and comprehensive approach to health care.

“Women face a wide range of reproductive health issues such as heavy periods, cramps, perimenopause, menopause, pregnancy, miscarriages, and various conditions including fibroids, endometriosis, and PCOS,” continued Furstenau. “We often feel pressured to keep symptoms a secret while still keeping up with work and our day-to-day lives. These issues impact women differently – young women, older women, trans women, rural women, everyone’s dealing with their own challenges and need different supports.

“What they share though, is a need for accurate, honest information, and a healthcare system that understands their concerns and has the resources to help. Previous governments have invested time and energy into understanding this, through the development of regular strategies and reports into the state of women’s health across British Columbia.

“With the last comprehensive report being released in 2011, over a decade ago, why has this government failed to focus attention on issues that impact women in British Columbia?”

Background and Statistics:

  • In 2004 BC Women’s collaborated with the BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, with funding from the Ministry of Health, to generate the province’s first Provincial Women’s Health Strategy. The report was last updated in 2011.
  • While several reports have been published in the last few years, no reports on women’s health have been tabled in the B.C. Legislature since 2018.
  • BC is home to 2,543,365 women, indicating a significant portion of the province’s total population.
  • The age distribution among women spans a wide range, with 347,650 aged 0 to 14 years, 1,652,995 aged 15 to 64 years, and 542,720 women aged 65+. This distribution highlights a substantial working-age population alongside a notable segment of older women, reflecting societal and economic implications for healthcare, employment, and social services.
  • While specific data on disabled women in B.C. is set to be released this year, it’s noted that women are more likely than men to have a disability, reflecting broader national trends and emphasizing the importance of accessibility and support services.
  • The population of B.C. includes 5,450 transgender women. The 2021 census is the first census in Canada to record gender identity in a more inclusive way, creating space and visibility for trans and non-binary people.
  • More than half of Canadian women are involved in caregiving roles, with 52% providing care to children and dependent adults.
  • In B.C., 161,820 one-parent families are headed by women, pointing to the considerable responsibilities and challenges faced by female caregivers and sole parents.
  • While there are not specific statistics for B.C., national data highlights significant issues of family violence, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence, with women and girls being disproportionately affected. This emphasizes the critical need for protective measures, support services, and prevention efforts.

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Media contact
JoJo Beattie
Press Secretary
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | jojo.beattie@leg.bc.ca

 

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