Closing the Gender Divide: A Rallying Cry for Equality For Women in Healthcare
Women's health is frequently reduced to merely encompassing sexual and reproductive health (SRH), significantly understating the broader spectrum of women's health concerns. For enhanced outcomes in women's health, the medical community requires a more profound comprehension of and access to interventions that yield the most favourable outcomes.

Despite progress in championing gender equality, the journey to narrow the global gender gap remains arduous. The World Economic Forum’s 2023 Global Gender Gap Report shines a harsh light on the current state of gender equality worldwide. It highlights significant setbacks, particularly worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disproportionately affected women and girls in education and employment. The data show that the global gender gap across 146 countries has only been 68.4% closed, with an alarming projection of 131 years until full equality is reached.

Within the field of medicine, inequality is pronounced, both inside healthcare organisations and in the provision of healthcare services.

The Underrepresentation of Women’s Health Needs

Women’s health is frequently reduced to merely encompassing sexual and reproductive health (SRH), significantly understating the broader spectrum of women’s health concerns. For enhanced outcomes in women’s health, the medical community requires a more profound comprehension of and access to interventions that yield the most favourable outcomes.

According to a recent report by McKinsey & Company:

  • Closing the gender health gap can unlock $1 trillion in global economic growth by 2040.
  • Women live longer than men but spend more time in poor health, affecting productivity and economic contributions.
  • Women are disproportionately affected by mental health issues, including depression and anxiety. The report highlights a pressing need for gender-sensitive mental health services and research to address these disparities.
  • Women’s health research is underfunded, particularly in areas outside of reproductive health, underscoring the need for increased investment in comprehensive women’s health research.
  • There’s a critical gap in how women are included in clinical trials, with a historical bias towards male participants. This leads to a lack of data on how diseases and treatments affect women differently, an issue that requires immediate attention to ensure gender-equitable healthcare solutions.

This latest study underscores a clear and urgent message: there is a pressing necessity for focused health research and interventions aimed at narrowing the gender health disparity, ultimately leading to improved health results for women.

“The women’s health gap equates to 75 million years of life lost due to poor health or early death per year,” McKinsey stated. That equates to seven days per woman per year. “Addressing the gap could generate the equivalent impact of 137 million women accessing full-time positions by 2040.”

Currently, significant discrepancies exist in women’s health initiatives concerning reproductive health, mental health, and non-communicable diseases. Women face distinct health issues at various stages of their lives, yet these challenges frequently lack adequate focus and investment in healthcare research and policymaking.

Closing the gender health gap requires a concerted effort from all sectors of society. Governments must enact and enforce policies that promote gender equality in healthcare. Healthcare providers should adopt a more holistic approach to women’s health, beyond just reproductive issues. The private sector can play a pivotal role by investing in healthcare innovations that specifically address women’s health needs. And finally, communities must advocate for change, ensuring that women’s health is seen as a priority.

According to the 2023 Global Gender Gap Report, “Recent years have seen major setbacks and the state of gender parity still varies widely by company, industry and economy. Yet, a growing number of actors have recognized the importance and urgency of taking action, and evidence on effective gender parity initiatives is solidifying.”

Women Need a Voice at the Table

Women, who constitute an overwhelming 70% of the global healthcare workforce, continue to encounter significant barriers. Despite possessing equal qualifications, female physicians are consistently paid less, underrepresented in leadership positions within organised medicine, academia, and hold merely 25% of senior leadership roles in the healthcare sector. Moreover, women account for only 21% of full professors in medical fields and less than 20% of department chairs and medical school deans.

At Medix, we recognise the pivotal role women play in addressing these deep-seated issues. We are committed to creating and promoting opportunities that bring women to the forefront of tackling and overcoming these challenges.

Our dedication is reflected in the words of one of our medical experts, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and the clinical director of the Leukemia Service at Massachusetts General Hospital, Professor Gabriela S. Hobbs, MD, who stresses the importance of fostering a work environment that not only recruits but also retains women in the workforce. “The face of medicine is changing and as more women rise to leadership roles, our role as female mentors and leaders should be to help shape a work environment that helps not only to recruit but also to retain women in the workforce. As a woman leader and mentor of many young faculty, I think it is just as important to discuss career goals as it is to discuss how to fit those goals with priorities outside of work to ensure that physicians are able to be supported for success.”

A New Approach to Women’s Health

Medix is at the forefront of enhancing health outcomes for women, leading the way with a comprehensive and innovative approach tailored to the unique health needs of women throughout their lives. In recognising the significant gaps in existing healthcare provisions, Medix has developed a multi-faceted strategy for women’s health that is underpinned by scientific research and designed to meet the varied needs of women at each life stage. This strategy includes preventative measures, rapid diagnosis and treatment, personal consultations, holistic coverage of health issues, and measurable outcomes, ensuring a strategy that is both data-backed and driven by outcomes.

Heart disease, the primary cause of death among women, underscores the healthcare disparities Medix seeks to address. Women are up to three times more likely to die following a serious heart attack than men, often due to unequal care and treatment. Furthermore, the emotional well-being of women has reached concerning lows, with nearly four in ten women experiencing extreme worry and stress on a daily basis. Specific chronic conditions such as Endometriosis, affecting 10% of women, underscore the critical need for dedicated healthcare solutions.

Medix’s integrated response to women’s health is at the forefront of medical science, providing customised tools for cardiac care, screening for breast and ovarian cancer, risk management for uterine cancer, and many more. By offering personalised and women specific care plans, access to a premier a local and global health network, support tools for family planning and work life balance guidance, ranging from stress management to women postpartum coaching, Medix is not merely reacting to the current health crisis among women but is actively shaping a future where women’s physical and mental health is a priority, comprehensively understood, and effectively managed at all levels. To know more about how Medix is paving the way for women’s health, email us at info@medix-global.com

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