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Women and Men

Throughout the years, the MSSS has clearly recognized the link between the living conditions of Québec citizens and their health. Their social, economic and political situations as well as their physiological realities influence their attitudes towards health and welfare. To increase its awareness of the needs of Québec citizens and above all to serve them better, the MSSS and its network intend to use an approach that permits the development of policies, programs and services that take greater account of the different life experiences of women and men.

Women

In January 2003, the MSSS made public its objectives and action strategy on women’s health and welfare. Among other things, these objectives are designed to favour regional and local health care programming that is better adapted to the needs of vulnerable women in difficult situations. The women targeted are economically disadvantaged, disabled, from ethnic or First Nations communities, lesbians or bisexuals, or sex workers.

Presently, Québec's health and social services system is shifting towards community-based services; at the same time, the objectives of the MSSS are focusing on the care and services offered to women around issues such as:

  • Aging;
  • The perinatal period and reproductive health;
  • Family planning;
  • Physical health, to counter such things as breast, lung and uterine cancer, heart disease and body image issues;
  • Mental health;
  • Assistance for women who have been victims of conjugal violence and their children as well as women who have been victims of sexual assault;
  • Women's different lifestyle choices, particularly as regards tobacco use, medication use and physical activity;
  • Support for women who work in the healthcare network and female caregivers.

All these MSSS initiatives are based on the principles of access to health and welfare for all female Québec citizens as well as of equality between women and men while respecting gender differences.

For more information about government activities that promote equality between women and men, consult the sites of the Ministère de la Famille, des Aînés et de la Condition féminine, the Conseil du statut de la femme and the Secrétariat à la condition féminine.

Men

Changes in mentality are taking place in Québec society with regard to recognizing the equality between the rights of women and men. This recognition is supported by Canadian and Québec legislation. For this reason, in addition to focusing on improving the health and welfare of women, the MSSS is also adapting its services to the life experiences of men. To do so, a working committee has been created to guide the MSSS and its network in improving the care and services intended to meet men's needs. Based on an analysis of these needs, the Comité en matière de prévention et d’aide aux hommes (Committee for Prevention and Assistance to Men) is attempting to determine the most promising strategies to respond to these needs. The initiatives proposed focus on promotion, prevention and more direct intervention with men in difficulty.

Moreover, the MSSS is considering certain initiatives that will have an impact on the health and welfare of men around issues such as:

  • Their lifestyle choices, to promote a healthy lifestyle and initiate prevention activities concerning unhealthy attitudes and behaviours such as alcoholism, drug addiction and gambling;
  • The perinatal period, particularly to provide support to fathers in their role;
  • Family planning, to encourage young men especially to assume more responsibility when faced with paternity;
  • Suicide prevention, since the suicide rate of young men, in particular, is very high;
  • Help for abusive partners and sex offenders, to encourage attitudes and behaviours free from dominance, control and violence.

All these MSSS initiatives are based on the principles of access to health and welfare for all male Québec citizens as well as of equality between women and men while respecting gender differences.

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