Addressing Gender Bias in Medicine for National Women’s Health Week

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Yesterday marked the first day of National Women’s Health Week (May 12-18, 2019), and as such it is important to discuss the inherent gender bias in medical research and treatment and the ways in which the medical community are attempting to rectify said bias.

Many women, particularly women of color, often report feeling dismissed or undermined by medical professionals regarding a variety of physical or mental issues. This can and often does have dangerous consequences. Examples include how women of color are at least three times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes, and how women, in general, are less likely, in comparison to men, to survive a heart attack..

According to the “Women in Pain” survey conducted by National Pain Report in 2018, 65 percent of women patients felt doctors took their pain less seriously because they were female, and 84 percent felt they had been treated differently by doctors because of their sex. Many women would often report that they were told that their issues were psychosomatic or stress-induced, with many symptoms being chalked up to poor diet and exercise. While it certainly is possible for stress or anxiety to cause physical problems, that certainly is not the case every time—and even when it is, the underlying mental issues need to be taken seriously as well. Continue reading

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