We’re all aware that healthcare can fail patients. But what if it were failing half the world’s population?
It’s well-established that your race, class and wealth can affect your quality of healthcare. But one of the less obvious ways, and one which affects the most people, is gender.
Women are less likely to have their pain treated, their symptoms taken seriously or to be given a diagnosis than men. Their bodies, and the conditions that primarily affect them, are less likely to have been studied in clinical trials (which make effective treatments difficult to find). Even medical products used only by women – like the oral contraceptive pill – are based on male bodies (in the case of the pill, male hormones).
Thanks partly to movements like #MeToo, we are seeing increasing coverage of how gender bias exists everywhere from the workplace to film sets. And researchers are now finding that this bias doesn’t vanish at the door of a medical research lab or doctor’s office.
In this special series for BBC Future, we’ll be looking at the different ways in which women experience medical treatment – and, accordingly, their own health. Bookmark this page and return to it as we publish the series in the coming months.
One country's plan to save women's lives
How the pill changes your body shape
The dark past of the world's most popular contraceptive method
Why isn't this birth control used more?
The strange truth about the pill
'It sucked': Eight women open up about being on the pill
How the menstrual cycle changes the brain
Why do more women donate organs than men?
What is vulvodynia?
The mystery of the pelvic floor
Why dementia hits women harder than men
The enduring mystery of migraines
Why are more women getting lung cancer?
How alcohol affects women more than men
The health risks of maturing early
The case for renaming women's body parts
The medical bias killing patients
Why doctors dismiss women's pain
Do you have an experience to share? Or are you just interested in sharing information about women's health and wellbeing? Join our Facebook group Future Woman and be a part of the conversation about the day-to-day issues that affect women’s lives.
The Health Gap is a new series curated and edited by Amanda Ruggeri. She is @amanda_ruggeri on Twitter. Are there other factors or questions you think we should explore? Let us know your opinions on the social links below, or share your thoughts with the hashtag #healthgap.
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