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The Healthcare Bias In America

By HERWriter
 
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Healthcare Bias In America

I am a woman who was lucky enough to grow up with a father who made me believe that I am just as valuable and just as intelligent as any man. When I was little, I thought that there was very little difference between men and women. Eventually I realized it wasn’t quite so simple.

I recently read the book RAISING BOYS by Steve Biddulph, which sheds some light on the fact that not only do boys and girls’ brains develop differently, but connect differently between the two hemispheres.

“There are actually really important differences between men and women that go all the way down to the level of our cells,” said Dr. Janine Austin Clayton, director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health. (3)

We certainly have our differences, and yet America’s healthcare doesn’t seem to be reflecting this. When it comes to inequality, this is yet another area where women get the short end of the stick. A study last year found that women were less likely than men to be administered CPR in public. This is in addition to other areas of discrimination in the medical field. The paper “The Girl Who Cried Pain” by University of Maryland academics Diane Hoffman and Anita Tarzian found that women are more likely to be given sedatives for their pain and men given pain medication. The paper noted that, “a long history within our culture of regarding women’s reasoning capacity as limited” may have been the cause. (1)

The subconscious disregard for women’s health can be so widespread, it can affect women themselves, making them question if pain is really “all in their head.” I certainly can attest to this. I badly herniated a disc after the birth of my son. I could barely walk, yet with many doctors dismissing my experience as a normal postpartum one, I started to question if my pain was, indeed, hormonal. It took four months before I got an answer and I had to fight hard to get it.

Julia Buckley, a freelance journalist whose chronic pain was discounted for years feels that this gender bias is epidemic: “People are dying because they are female and doctors are blinded by their gender,” she says. (1)

1.    Schopen, Fay. The Healthcare Bias: Do Men Get Better Medical Treatment? The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/nov/20/healthcare-gender-bias-women-pain. Retrieved 11 October 2018.

2.   How To Address Gender Inequality In Healthcare. Greater Good Magazine. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_address_gender_inequality_in_health_care Retrieved 11 October 2018.

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3.   Gender Bias In Health Care May Be Harming Women’s Health. Today Show. https://www.today.com/health/gender-bias-health-care-may-be-harming-women-s-health-t133583Retriefved 11 October 2018.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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