EurActiv.com by Henriette Jacobsen
Maternal mortality rates have declined significantly in recent decades, but could be reduced further if policymakers ensure decent maternal healthcare all over the EU, says Mariya Gabriel.
Mariya Gabriel is a Bulgarian member of the European Parliament, representing the European People's Party (EPP). She answered questions by EurActiv's Henriette Jacobsen during the Safe Motherhood Week (28 September-4 October).
Why did you decide to become involved in this health-related topic?
As President of EPP Women, much of my time and efforts have been devoted to promoting greater gender equality and to increasing awareness about the importance of women's empowerment. In 2013, I received the MEP Award in the category Gender Equality, and in 2015 the EACA Care Award for my commitment to violence against women and to gender equality. I am currently the rapporteur for the so-called Women on Boards Directive, which aims at breaking the glass ceiling and increasing the gender diversity of corporate boards.
Equality between men and women is a cause that is very close to my heart and to which I have dedicated my work as a politician but also as a woman.
Gender-based inequalities are also present in healthcare and women and men are confronted with gender-specific health risks which need to be adequately addressed. We still have wide variations and disparities across member states as regards health rights, and more specifically, maternal rights. Narrowing these gaps is critical to achieve women's empowerment and gender equality.
Which EU countries in particular face the biggest challenges with maternal mortality?