Health inequity 101

April 4 2019
We’re breaking down why health inequity is such an important issue and what you can do to help.

Movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp have brought women’s issues to the world stage. From Hollywood to politics, industries are being reshaped… all because women’s voices are finally being heard.

What about healthcare?

We know that women and men are different in both their biology and social factors - income, access to jobs, education - yet research indicates that women are more likely to be undertreated for pain by doctors and referred to a therapist rather than a pain clinic.

They are often dismissed by doctors who attribute the pain to something “that’s just in your head” and are encouraged to simply “take a Tylenol.” Take Lindsay’s story of being undiagnosed for years as an example.

Yet another example involves the mental health research and therapy that has solely been based off of the male experience, even though women experience depression twice as often as men.

Women’s health has historically been sidelined, mostly because it was assumed it was the same as men’s.

Because of this, healthcare professionals did not explore the need for different techniques or approaches to things like: research, diagnoses, and treatment, until recently.

Today, gendered research is showing us that the differences between men and women cannot be overlooked if we are to reach health equity.

This moment in time has room for everyone to participate - because the benefits will undoubtedly serve us all.

If you identify as a man

  • Challenge ideas, jokes, and locker room talk that diminishes women’s experiences.
  • If you hear a story like this from a woman you know, practise non judgemental support and ask how you can help.

If you identify as a woman

  • Advocate for yourself at the doctor's office and don’t stop until you feel you have the answers you need.
  • Share your own story. Social media is a powerful tool to share personal experiences with the hopes of finding people who feel the same.

To everyone - Speak up. The more we talk about health inequities, the more it will become an issue that can’t be ignored.

For more, watch our President + CEO, Genesa Greening speak with CTV Morning Live’s Keri Adams on battling health inequity:

Follow @bcwomens on Instagram to read real women’s stories about their experiences with inequity in healthcare.


Written by: Allison Wong
Edited by: Heather Chang