23.11.2011 - Social and Human Sciences Sector

Gender and bioethics conference concludes with recommendations for action

© UNESCO - Pilar Alvarez-Laso, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences

The second and last day of the Conference on Gender and Bioethics held on 21 and 22 November in Kazan saw enriching contributions made by international and local experts on important aspects to the gender and bioethics intersection.

Presentations focusing on challenges in bioethics from the gender perspective in research explored the complex question of gender equity and highlighted the gender blindness in the selection of research topics and participants. Issues related to the challenges specific to the areas of migration, climate change and poverty were presented. They enabled to raise the question of gender justice and to highlight the fact that women are the most affected by negative consequences of globalization.

Local speakers introduced some of the key issues in connection with gender and bioethics in the region. The bioethical problems arising from the practice of non-conventional medicines were pinpointed, as were the ethical questions posed by female high level athletes in sports, or the consequences of modern technologies on behaviors related to child birth.

The conference concluded in a proactive manner. Participants identified and proposed recommendations to allow for fruitful follow-up to the discussions and implementation of concrete actions. Among those recommendations which were not only aimed at UNESCO, but also at the CIS countries and international stakeholders, the following seemed to be the most relevant:

  • That bioethics be included as a compulsory subject in university education, using UNESCO’s core curriculum as the basis;
  • That capacity for education on gender and bioethics be developed at national and local levels with support of international organizations;
  • That UNESCO supports capacity building for equal and inclusive participation of women in decision-making processes in relation to bioethical issues;
  • That a seminar be held to develop a framework agreement on gender awareness for the CIS Countries for domestic adoption in its member states;
  • That the following issues be integrated into bioethics education and interdisciplinary research: HIV and AIDS, non-conventional medicine, globalization, climate change, migration, care issues, impacts of gender on risk taking.
  • That all research and public health data should be disaggregated by sex.

A press conference was also organized with representatives of major local mass media. Pilar Alvarez-Laso, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences, Dafna Feinholz, UNESCO Chief of the Bioethics Section, Saria Saburskaya, on behalf of the Deputy-Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan, and Alexey Sozinov, Rector of the Kazan State Medical University, insisted on the relevance of debating gender equity in our modern times in the context of bioethics, and in particular in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

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