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International award for York health scientists

Posted on 8 October 2013

Two University of York academics are to receive an international award at the European Parliament in recognition of their development of a new approach to social justice.

Professor Kate Pickett and Honorary Visiting Professor Richard Wilkinson from York’s Department of Health Sciences will be presented with a SOLIDAR Silver Rose Award in Brussels on 16 October.

Launched in 2000, the SOLIDAR awards celebrate individuals and organisations who have contributed greatly to social justice and solidarity throughout the world.

The award recognises Professor Pickett and Professor Wilkinson’s advocacy of the need to reduce income inequality in order to improve the quality of life, most notably with their book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better.

The Spirit Level has had a substantial influence on the British political agenda since its publication in March 2009. In the book, based on 30 years of research, the authors argue that societies with more equal distribution of incomes have better health, fewer social problems such as violence, drug abuse, teenage births, mental illness and obesity, and are more cohesive than ones in which the gap between the rich and poor is greater. They conclude that to tackle societal problems, it is first necessary to focus on economic inequality.

We live in a world of growing inequality, which damages us all

Professor Kate Pickett

Kate Pickett, a Professor of Epidemiology in York’s Department of Health Sciences, said: “We live in a world of growing inequality, which damages us all, and we are honoured to receive a Silver Rose Award, reflecting the growing recognition that inequality must be a central issue on political and policy agendas throughout the world.”

SOLIDAR is a European network of NGOs working to advance social justice in Europe and worldwide, voicing the concerns of its member organisations to the EU and international institutions.

Five awards will be presented at the conference-style event in Brussels. The other award winners include grassroots organisations working with migrants, an Asian trade union and indigenous peoples from South America.

Notes to editors:

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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