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2 in 3 women experience gender bias in health care

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Over 70% had experienced gender bias in the diagnosis and treatment of a health condition. 72% had experienced gender bias at the GP.
gender bias health care

Two in three women have experienced gender bias when accessing health care, according to a Government survey of nearly 3,000 people.

Over 70% had experienced gender bias in the diagnosis and treatment of a health condition. 72% had experienced gender bias at the GP.

Respondents frequently reported being “dismissed and disbelieved” by health providers.

The report was released before the first National Women’s Health Summit in Canberra today.

Findings

The End Gender Bias survey collected findings from 2,800 respondents, including cis and trans women, and people assigned female at birth, which could include non-binary people and trans men.

The majority of respondents had experienced discrimination in the health system.

Gender bias was most prevalent among those seeking treatment or diagnosis for sexual and reproductive health concerns and chronic pain.

Lived experience

The report included examples of lived experience. One respondent, a First Nations woman, said she was “bullied” into getting an intrauterine device (IUD).

The woman was seeking a surgical endometriosis diagnosis. She was told that “the surgery would not be scheduled if [she] did not consent to an IUD.”

Women from different cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic backgrounds, shared how these factors worsened the gender-bias they faced.

Historic gender bias

The report said that medical research has “historically” excluded women.

It argued this has led to a lack of balanced evidence, and male outcomes being used to determine treatment and diagnosis practices in women’s health care.

The report suggested more funding to ensure women are better represented in ”the health and medical research workforce, particularly in leadership roles.”

Summit

The findings were released ahead of the National Women’s Health Summit.

The government said leaders, experts and women with lived experience were meeting to “discuss how Australia can fundamentally transform the health system to improve access to health care, services and outcomes for women”.

Assistant Health Minister Ged Kearney called the summit a “turning point” for women’s health.

“Every woman has a story of gender bias or discrimination in the health system,” Kearney said.

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