Women have long been overlooked when it comes to health care. We are often told that our symptoms are not “real” or taken seriously. We experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and PTSD than men, yet our mental health is often ignored. Women’s health has been put on the back burner for far too long. There have been limited studies and research done on women’s health and the medical industry is still heavily male-dominated. Even worse, many women experience discrimination in their attempts to access health care services—and this is an injustice that needs to be addressed.


Men and Women are NOT Created Equal (Biologically and Psychologically Speaking)

To start let’s talk about the physical differences between men and women. Our bodies are built differently and our hormones work differently. For example, a woman’s menstrual cycle can cause changes in moods and emotions which can affect her overall well-being. Women also take longer to heal from physical ailments such as injuries or illnesses due to differences in hormone levels. These differences are not just biological; they have real-world implications for a woman’s health and well-being.


We must acknowledge these differences so that women can be given access to the appropriate healthcare services for their unique needs. When it comes to mental health specifically, women require more support than men due to the heavy emotional burden of social norms like gender roles and expectations for motherhood and marriage. Yet too often these issues are dismissed as “women’s problems” or “hormone problems” instead of being seen as serious mental health concerns that need attention and treatment.  Moreover, inadequate sex education means that most people aren’t aware of how their own body works—which can lead to further anxiety around accessing medical care in case they don’t know what is going on with them medically speaking.


Clinical Trials are Failing Us

The next issue that needs to be addressed is the lack of medical research focused on women’s health issues. For years (since 1977 in the United States,) a majority of clinical trials have been conducted solely with male participants, leaving out relevant data about how a drug or treatment might affect a woman differently than it would affect a man—even though most drugs are prescribed to both men AND women. This means that any potential remedies or solutions are not being explored as fully as they should be – if at all – simply because there isn’t enough funding available for such research projects due to either lack of interest or sexism within the scientific community itself.   Because of this, many female patients report feeling overlooked by their doctors when they express symptoms or side effects that could be unique to them as a result of their gender.  This has been particularly harmful during pandemics like COVID-19 where we still do not know how the virus affects different genders differently – but could if more resources were allocated towards studying this issue further!


Is There a Female Doctor in the House?

Another concerning issue we need to address is the fact that there simply aren’t enough female doctors in the medical industry yet. (In 2020, only 38.84% of medical specialists were female).   This means there are far fewer female perspectives and experiences being taken into account when it comes to diagnosing and treating patients. As a result, many female patients feel like they’re not being heard or taken seriously by their male healthcare providers due to inherent gender biases in the medical field.


This also leads to concerns about accessibility for women who have been the victim of male-initiated trauma who do not feel safe or comfortable being treated by a male physician and are therefore left with a lack of adequate healthcare.


Is it Sexist to Recognize Our Biological Differences?

And lastly, let’s look at whether or not it’s sexist to recognize the differences between men and women. The answer is an emphatic NO!  We should never shy away from acknowledging biological differences between genders—and if we do, we’re only perpetuating outdated stereotypes about who can do what and how certain genders should behave or think.  Instead, let’s embrace these differences as opportunities for growth and understanding so we can better serve all patients adequately, regardless of gender identity or expression.


There are still some major issues facing women’s health today—from a lack of medical research focused on female-specific issues to an inadequate representation among healthcare providers—but there are steps we can take towards progress in this area if we’re willing to open our minds and hearts first.  It is absolutely essential for us as women (and those who love us) to prioritize our own health and well-being by understanding how we are uniquely affected by both physical and mental illnesses. This means researching what conditions we may be more susceptible to; advocating for ourselves when seeking proper treatment; supporting organizations dedicated solely towards furthering female wellness; and supporting legislation that prioritizes funding towards specifically researching sex/gender-specific diseases or treatments which disproportionately affect us versus men.  It is not sexist to acknowledge the physiological differences between men and women – it is essential for us all to receive adequate care suited for each gender.  After all, knowledge is power – let’s use it!!