Women's environments are the structural, political, economic, legal, employment, community and household circumstances of their daily lives.

Women and Health Care Reform undertook work in two facets of women's environments. In the first case, we partnered with the National Network on Environments and Women's Health, which in 2007 hosted a workshop on Maternity Environments. As part of our contribution, we commissioned Rebecca Sutherns, PhD to help us explore the dynamics of the employment and structural environments in which maternity care is provided. Dr. Sutherns examined contemporary conditions that create but also hinder the ability for care to be provided in a way that is in keeping with concepts of women-centred care. She describes the tensions that are created by competing political, professional and ideological paradigms.

Our second piece of work looked at a more traditionally understood aspect of environment. Working with our partners at NNEWH again, we contributed to their exploration of Women and Water (www.womenandwater.ca), examining the implications of current discussions of privatizing water. Using examples from within Canada and from other nations, the document records the gendered reasons women can be particularly vulnerable if water is no longer a public utility. These vary from women's average lower incomes, precarious employment and lesser likelihood to be able to participate in decisions that will directly affect how they can get the water they need, and at what price.


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