Gender Equality In Health Care: The Road to Dismantling Dangerous Gender Bias In Health Care by 30Seconds Health


Gender Equality In Health Care: The Road to Dismantling Dangerous Gender Bias In Health Care

Gender Bias refers to unfair treatment based on gender perspective. Let’s say a professor for an ABSN online course had two students, one male and one female. If these students handed in the same essay, but the teacher marked the man higher than the woman, this would be an example of gender bias. All other reasons for a low grade being absent, the only reason that one student got a higher mark than the other is that the professor, for some reason, harbors a gender bias against women.

Although anti-feminism is nothing new it has unfortunately leaked into some extremely important social needs. For example, visiting the doctor. There are countless reports of women being treated dismissively by health-care professionals, and research shows that female or female-identifying health-care workers are less likely to be considered for promotions, or even to be offered training that would qualify them for a promotion.

The evidence is clear that women have an outrageously underwhelming chance of getting what they need or want in the health-care industry without a significant fight. Now, as a society, we have to ask ourselves “How do we dismantle this faulty system?”

A Man's World

The first step to fixing a problem is admitting there is one. Yet despite the mountain of evidence that despite progress women all over the world still face an uphill battle for social equality, there are still adamant deniers that women have any struggle.

Although the global equality race that women face is dangerous in every aspect of life, in many developed nations women have equality according to the laws of those countries. However, due to their social inequality, it is often difficult to have these laws carried to the extent of their letter. One of the areas this is most prevalent is in health care, where women are repeatedly ignored, spoken down to, or just dismissed out of hand.

For meaningful societal change that is potentially life-saving, our society first needs to assess its attitudes toward women. A global report conducted by the UN in 2020 found that close to 90 percent of all people have gender bias against women, which gives rise to yet another question: where does this bias come from?

The Origins of Gender Bias

Gender bias is an ugly thing, and hearkens back to a time when women had even less than they do now.

Gender stereotypes were first formally cataloged in America in the 1970s when a study was conducted to see what people deemed socially acceptable or unacceptable for one gender to do as opposed to the other. The results showed that men were expected to be aggressive, independent leaders, while women were expected to have gullible, shy, compassionate dispositions.

Although many people cling to these stereotypes as a fact, the actual truth is that sex (what genitalia you have) and gender (how you feel about/present your masculinity or femininity) are far more complex. Research shows that forcing people to live under traditional gender stereotypes is actively harmful, forcing boys into emotional stagnation and ignorance, while girls are made to accept that their role is to be obedient and nurturing no matter what they want out of life.

It’s easy for women to suffer from this medically. Imagine you live in a world where you and people like you are immediately assumed to be gullible, over-emotional and demure. Imagine your doctor belongs to a community assumed to be smart, powerful and socially elevated. How seriously do you think that doctor is going to take your complaint? How well do you think you will be able to stand up for yourself if they dismiss you?

Ending It 

It’s easy to dismiss gender bias in health care, especially if you’re a man who doesn’t see it. However, the consequences of dismissing it are life-threatening for half the world. The facts show us that women are underrepresented in all aspects of the health-care industry. They aren’t heard when they ask for help, they have to fight for equal opportunity professionally, and women of color in the health-care industry face even more hurdles. So how do we dissolve this hurtful and toxic dynamic?

The first step is, as we said earlier, admitting that there is a problem. Forcing change when so many people remain ignorant of the issue is impossible. Therefore, the very first thing that needs to be done is education. Making sure that when we raise our children, we raise them to understand the fundamental fact that women are people, too, and just as deserving of any attention and importance that we would place on a man.

Next, we need to examine our hiring processes and pay attention to education and achievements – not gender. We need to enforce stricter codes of conduct on doctors to ensure that all patients are receiving the requisite care, ending the risk of women running afoul of sexist health-care professionals. We need to address the pay gap, and issues of racism, and to recognize that women are the victims of a generationally enforced paradigm that they never wanted nor asked for.

With everything going on in the world, it can sometimes feel like talking about gender bias is a petty concern. Think of it this way: If it affects 3.95 billion people every day, is it actually petty or do you just not want to deal with it?

The Future of Health Care

The good thing is that things can get better. We aren’t so far gone that women are going to be stuck in the 1970’s for another century. As more information spreads and traditionalist sentiment dies out with the people that cling to it, more progressive and rational modes of thought take their place.

It’s a slow change but it is happening, and a brighter future is on the horizon. All we have to do is be persistent. Continue to put the information out there, call out sexism where you see it and above all, advocate for yourself at the doctor’s office if you feel you aren’t getting proper care.

Note: The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.

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Elisa Schmitz
We still have a long way to go when it comes to gender equality, especially when it comes to healthcare. This is one area that is crucial. Thank you for the important insights!
Donna John
Very insightful article about gender equality in health care. Let's share this article so more are aware.

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