The Swedish non-profit health organization, the 1.6 Million Club (1.6 Miljonerklubben) fights against sexist discrimination in the healthcare and medical research sector. The organization was founded by Alexandra Charles in 1998, and she has been the chairwoman ever since. The name came about because, at the time, there were 1.6 million women over the age of 45 in Sweden. Learn more about the Swedish Women’s Lobby.
Alexandra started the club after she had heard from doctors and researchers how male-dominated medical research was and how women were being discriminated against in health care. She wanted to spread more female-oriented information about heart disease and other issues affecting women’s health.
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“Most people don’t know that heart conditions are the most common cause of death in our country,” says Alexandra Charles. “Women and men even react differently to heart attacks. So when I found out that medical research was based on men, I wanted to put a gender perspective into the research in order to give women the same possibilities of getting the best health care.”
In 2008, The 2.6 Million Club was established for women over the age of 25 with the same objective as The 1.6 Million Club. Nevertheless, any adult can join the organizations, including men.
Today the club disseminates knowledge and information about all issues dealing with women’s health and women’s situation. They are active on issues such as healthcare, getting a job, immigrant women’s conditions, the economy, the environment and culture.
Alexandra’s initiative has become Sweden’s largest non-political non-profit women’s rights organization with over 35,000 active members. The club has since grown with sister organizations in Norway, Finland, and Germany, as well as networks in Brussels and St Petersburg.
Run with a core of famous Swedish women and a group of medical experts, the organization functions both as a lobbying organization and as an educational organization.
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The Club wants to create a healthier society with more health awareness and enjoyment for women of all ages by working as a pressure group and opinion-shaper, working with state agencies, politicians and researchers.
Every spring the campaign Women in Red, aiming to raise funds for medical research on the female heart, is launched. As with the Pink Ribbon, supporters can proudly wear an awareness pin, but for this cause shaped as a red shoe.
The organization was awarded the National Encyclopaedia, Knowledge Award 2005 and The WHO Tobacco Prevention Award 2010.
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More consideration should be given to the biological, physiological and pharmacological differences between women and men, when it comes to health and disease – and that is why The Club supports the Centre for Genus Medicine at Karolinksa Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
The 1.6 Million Club works closely with medical experts who carefully check all the information before it is published, and they help with access to the very latest research.
In the time of the pandemic, the 1.6 million club has fully invested in digital events and online courses. During 45 webinars and 10 online courses, 168 lecturers and more than 25,000 participants met online.
The Swedish Women’s Lobby, written by Tor Kjolberg