Bridging the Gender Health Gap: A Call to Action from Benenden Health

Monday, February 26, 2024

In a revealing study conducted by Benenden Health, significant disparities in healthcare experiences between genders in the UK have been starkly highlighted, shedding light on a concerning landscape of the gender health gap. This research provides compelling evidence that a significant portion of women feel their health issues are not adequately addressed or taken seriously within the healthcare system, pointing to a deep-seated issue that requires immediate and focused attention.

Key Findings of the Research:

  • 60% of women believe their health issues are not taken seriously in the UK, indicating a substantial trust gap between female patients and the healthcare system. This perception underlines a critical need for a more empathetic and responsive healthcare approach.
  • 35% of women have felt they experienced poorer health outcomes due to their gender, highlighting systemic biases or gaps in healthcare provision and understanding. Such disparities emphasize the urgent need for systemic change.
  • Over half of the women surveyed reported negative experiences with healthcare professionals, including late diagnoses (36%), incorrect diagnoses (33%), and being prescribed the wrong medication (25%). These experiences highlight a concerning trend of miscommunication and misunderstanding in patient care.
  • The survey, involving 10,000 women aged 16 and older, aimed to bring attention to the gender health gap in the UK, noted as the largest among G20 countries and the 12th largest globally. This gap poses a significant barrier to achieving equality in health outcomes.
  • Additionally, 27% of women perceive the UK's healthcare system as favouring men, leading to reluctance in seeking medical help, which in turn affects their long-term wellbeing. More than a third of respondents (35%) avoid visiting doctors due to reasons such as anxiety and embarrassment.

A Unified Call to Action:

Rowan Connell, Medical Director and Consultant Gynaecologist at Benenden Health, underscored the gravity of the findings, stating, "The findings of our research paint a concerning look at women's health in the UK, but it's a reality that, as a society, we cannot shy away from. At Benenden Health, we believe that everyone deserves access to great healthcare. We are committed to not only raising awareness of the gender health gap but working to break down the barriers that women face and removing the stigma around women's health to ensure the right support is in place for them now, and into the future."

TV presenter and women's health advocate Cherry Healey also emphasized the campaign's importance: "This campaign is so important in the fight to enable women to talk more openly about their own health, so that when they express their health concerns, they are taken seriously. This is an issue that I feel very strongly about, having previously shared my own experience of perimenopause and learning about the avoidable challenges so many women go through to get the help they need. I want to help ensure that women all over the UK are receiving the support that they need, when they need it."

In partnership with the Fawcett Society, Benenden Health aims to amplify this message and work towards closing the gender health gap, advocating for equitable healthcare access and outcomes for all women in the UK.

As the UK grapples with the implications of these findings, the call to action is clear: It's time for a systemic overhaul to address and close the gender health gap, ensuring that women's health issues are taken seriously, addressed promptly, and treated with the respect and attention they deserve.

For more information about Benenden Health's campaign and their efforts to address the gender health gap, please visit their official campaign page: Benenden Health's Gender Health Gap Campaign.

Meg Gray