3 ways to reduce gender bias in healthcare

Why does gender bias still occur in 2022 and how can we overcome it? More specifically, how does gender bias cause harm within the HealthCare system? These are questions we have to ask ourselves, to think about ways we could reduce this problem in HealthCare. In this blog post, I will be discussing three ways to reduce gender bias in the HealthCare system.

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The first way to reduce the problem of gender bias in HealthCare is to acknowledge that this is an ongoing problem in the first place. The more that this problem is pushed into a corner, the greater the issues we will see as time goes on. Stereotypically, gender bias tends to favor men in many situations such as work and politics. It is important that patients are aware of gender bias before they receive HealthCare so that they aren’t put into a dangerous position.

The next way to reduce the problem of gender bias in HealthCare is to educate both health care professionals and patients. It is important to be aware of the fact that certain health issues show up differently in men and women. Some health conditions are more common in one gender however, this doesn’t mean that the other gender’s symptoms should be deemed as any less important. Partner states, “heart attack is the leading killer of American women. Since 1984, the mortality rate of heart attacks has been greater for women than men. Studies show that there is no physical reason that women should die at higher rates than men. In fact, a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that when women receive the same therapies as men, their odds for survival are the same.” Where the health risks lie for women are in the responses to their health conditions, not just the conditions alone.

The last way we could reduce the problem of gender bias in HealthCare is through conducting research involving more numbers in women. It seems that natural processes such as menstrual cycles or giving birth are usually downplayed as something that doesn’t cause physical distress in women. While men may not be able to physically understand this physical distress, they can become more educated and aware of these natural processes women go through. Pearson states, “so-called hysterical complaints played a major role in the forced hospitalization of women well into the 1900s. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) didn’t remove the diagnosis until 1980. A long history of bias also surrounds pain management for women. Even after doctors began using anesthesia during surgery in the mid-1800s, they continued to deny pain relief medications during childbirth for decades. They didn’t consider it necessary because prevailing religious beliefs suggested women should suffer during labor and delivery.”

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As someone who goes through the natural process and pain of a menstrual cycle, it is frustrating to know that there is a long history of bias surrounding pain management for women. I feel that women should be more accurately represented through research on these causes of physical distress. This is simply due to the fact that these are female-specific health topics. Partner mentions, “many research studies into diseases and treatments are skewed with a higher number of male participants.” Women should be accurately represented in health-based research to help diminish gender bias. By acknowledging, educating, and researching, I believe we can surely overcome the issues of gender bias in HealthCare.

Partner, Questex. “Exploring Gender Bias in Healthcare.” Fierce Healthcare, 16 Sept. 2019, https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/sponsored/exploring-gender-bias-healthcare.

Person. “Gender Bias in Healthcare: Examples, Impact, Solutions, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 20 Jan. 2022, https://www.healthline.com/health/gender-bias-healthcare#examples.

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