The Pompidou Group has pioneered the integration of the gender dimension into drug policies in Europe for almost two decades. Triggered by a proposal of the Norwegian Minister of Justice, it sought a better understanding of the specificities of each gender.
The first concrete result of that proposal was a Pompidou Group symposium on women and drugs, hosted by Switzerland in 1988.The second seminar on pregnancy and drug misuse was held at the Council of Europe premises in Strasbourg, in 2000. The same year, a report on 'Problem drug use by women: focus on community-based interventions' was published.
In supporting the integration of a gender dimension in drug policies, the Pompidou Group promotes not only the link between research, policy and practice but also takes into account the human rights dimension of drug policies.
The following actions have been taken in this field:
- Working group 2020-2021: the group meets with the objective of drafting a handbook for practitioners and decision makers that provides concrete guidance for implementing a gender approach in planning and delivering prevention, care and treatment services for the persons who use drugs or belong to a risk group, as well as guidance for law enforcement agencies on the practical integration of a gender approach in their work domain
- Publication "Needs of women with substance use disorders in Lebanon" (2019)
- Conference on mainstreaming a gender perspective in drug policy (Mexico, 2018)
- Seminar on Women and Drugs: from policy to good practice (Italy, 2017)
- Synthesis report “Violence, Women and Rape Drugs” (2017)
- The gender dimension of non-medical use of prescription drugs in Europe and the Mediterranean region (2015)
- Review of literature “Violence experienced or perpetrated, and psychoactive substance use among women in Europe and in the Mediterranean region” (2015)
- Women, drugs and violence: consultation of professionals (2015)
- Seminar on Women, Drugs and Violence in Europe and the Mediterranean Region (Italy, 2015)
- Interview “A pill for every ill?”
- Interview "Gender Mainstreaming in the Council of Europe activities"
In addition, the gender dimension was integrated in the MedNET* work programme, through the implementation of projects aiming at improving access to health, prevention and treatment for women suffering from substance use disorder(s). The activities implemented in the Mediterranean region are as follows (Read more under MedNET publications):
- Algeria: holding of the first awareness-raising seminar on women and drugs (2017), and set-up of a national committee on women (2018)
- Egypt: creation of the first specific care and treatment service for women, to be followed by the development of a care and treatment model for pregnant women with substance use disorder(s) (2016-2018)
- Lebanon: inclusion of women’s needs in the first national substance use strategy (2016), accompanied with a project on the identification of needs for women with substance use disorders (2018); specific programmes developed for women who use drugs with the aim of improving and increasing their access to treatment and care services (2020), facilitated by a study visit of Lebanese health professionals to France (2020)
The Pompidou Group has been contributing to the Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy and its gender activities are listed in the annual reports of the Council of Europe’s Secretary General on the implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy. The Pompidou Group is involved in the 2018-2023 Strategy under its Strategic objective 6 “Achieve gender mainstreaming in all policies and measures” which makes a specific reference to women who use drugs, and therefore, to Pompidou Group activities in this field.
*Pompidou Group cooperation network in the Mediterranean Region