Endometriosis is highlighted in the European Parliament


Diana Wallis MEP has again highlighted the plight of women with endometriosis as part of a report on gender discrimination in health systems, which was debated in the European Parliament today.

Picture of Diana Wallis
Diana Wallis MEP

The report (2004/2218(INI))was produced by the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, with Eva-Britt Svensson at the rapporteur.

It called on the Commission to include research into the health situation of the sexes in the new health and consumer protection programme (2007-2013) and take it into account when planning the Seventh Framework Programme of Research.

Diana Wallis said:

Mr President, there is a great deal in this report, I hope not too much, but I want to thank the rapporteur for including a particular women’s health issue with which I have been much involved. I refer to a disease which affects an estimated 14 million women and girls across the EU. There is no known cure, the cause is unknown and the average diagnosis time is rising, not falling, now standing at nine years. The disease I am talking about is endometriosis. It wrecks lives, it wrecks families, it causes infertility, it is not just ‘bad period pains’. The disease desperately needs serious research and attention.

As Members will be aware, we had a written declaration in this House to raise awareness. We achieved a total of 266 signatures, more than has ever been achieved on a single health issue. Seemingly, though, the pain caused by this disease goes unnoticed. It is a real gender issue. Even in our modern society, no one wants to talk about the pain associated with menstruation; women should ‘just get on with it’.

That cannot be right. The consequences of this disease are heart-rending for many women and families and there are also consequences for Europe’s economy. 14 million women across the EU are waiting for someone to take their suffering seriously. It is wonderful that the rapporteur has included it.

I was grateful that the Commissioner mentioned it, but really it is now up to the Commission and the Member States to do something about this dreadful disease, which is a gender issue affecting only women and girls. I wonder what might have been the case had it been a male disease!

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