Mission and approach
The advisory committee ensures that regional and local health and social service actions take into account the specificity of women in the region.
More concretely, the mandate of the advisory committee is to advise and provide input to the integrated health and social services centres in the GÎM region and to other institutions on any element influencing the state of health and well-being of women in the territory, as well as the specific needs and realities they experience.
The members of the Women’s Health Advisory Committee collectively commit to:
- Promote and defend the rights and interests of women;
- Promote a holistic approach to health;
- Promote gender-differentiated analysis;
- Document and analyse various women’s health issues from a holistic and feminist perspective; and
- Defend and promote its analyses to government bodies and institutions concerned with women’s health.
To this end, it collaborates in the development, monitoring and evaluation of various regional action plans, programs and projects. It ensures that services are accessible and adapted to the reality of women in the region. The advisory committee may also be called upon to participate in the consultation or consensus-building process during the development of certain files.
A holistic and feminist approach to health
The advisory committee promotes a holistic and feminist approach to health.1 This approach puts forward a preventive vision of health, is intended to be inclusive of all categories of the population and aims to improve the living conditions and well-being of all.
The approach is based on several ideas, including:
- A conception of the human being as a whole (body and mind) in interaction with his or her social and physical environment;
- The promotion of intersectionality, which means taking into account the multiple characteristics of the person. Compared to a white woman for example, a racialised woman will have a different experience of her health;
- Addressing the social determinants of health, i.e., factors that have a significant impact on health such as poverty;
- Promoting prevention as a priority to ensure the overall health of the population;
- Autonomy and the right to informed consent for all;
- Promotion of self-care, i.e., taking personal responsibility for one’s health;
- Being critical of knowledge that claims to be universal. For example, pharmaceutical research often excludes women from their tests, which prevents us from knowing the potential side effects for women;2 and
- Advocate the importance of being open to alternative approaches.
Source 2: https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/f/51569.html
To learn more about the global and feminist approach to health, consult the reference framework produced by the Réseau québécois d’action en santé des femmes (RQASF) available here.