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#BreaktheBias within Healthcare: Women's History Month

Apicha Community Health Center Mar 30, 2022  

Every year, in March, feminists worldwide celebrate Women's History Month and International Women's Day. This is a time to honor women and nonbinary folks and the positive impact they have had on our society.

Women laughing
#BreaktheBias Against Women

This year's theme is #BreaktheBias. It is no question that gender biases are introduced to us from a young age and persist throughout our societal structures. In fact, a 2020 global report by the United Nations found that almost 90% of people worldwide, including men, women, and non-binary folks, have some form of gender bias against women. 

These gender biases are even harsher against trans women, women of color, and low-income women. Discrimination occurs within a spectrum of social and economic systems such as the workplace and educational institutions. The health care system is no exception. 

#BreaktheBias Within Health Care

Discrimination occurs within a spectrum of social and economic systems such as the workplace and educational institutions. The health care system is no exception. 

MedicalNewsToday offers a few examples of how gender bias appears within the health care system:

  1. Disbelief in Symptoms: Many times, women are believed to exaggerate their pain or symptoms. A 2018 study While men with chronic pain are often seen as “brave” or “stoic,” women with similar chronic pain are viewed as “emotional” or “hysterical.”
  2. Workplace Discrimination: Several women doctors later in their careers reported in a 2020 study that age- and gender-based harassment, discrimination, and salary inequity persisted throughout their careers. 
  3. Gaps in Medical Research: In the past, many medical researchers considered cisgender men as the "best" test subjects because they did not have menstrual cycles and could not become pregnant. This left out cisgender women, trans folks, and intersex people causing us to have a much more limited understanding of the health needs of these populations.

A 2019 survey by TODAY reports that 1 in 5 women have felt that a health care provider has ignored or dismissed their symptoms. Furthermore, 17% of women said they feel they have been treated differently because of their gender—compared with 14% and 6% of men, respectively.

#BreaktheBias Against Trans & Non-Binary Folks

A 2021 report released by the Center for American Progress sheds light on how trans folks are discriminated against in health care settings.

  • Nearly half of trans or non-binary adults have experienced discrimination or other negative treatment from a healthcare professional.
  • Nearly half of trans or non-binary adults have been denied coverage for gender-affirming healthcare by their insurance companies.
  • 2 out of 3 trans adults worry that negative judgment and discrimination from healthcare professionals will affect their health evaluations.
  • 1 out of 3 trans adults reported having to educate their doctors about trans people. This shows the lack of education there is about the specific health needs of trans and gender-non confirming individuals.
How Apicha Can Help You

At Apicha CHC, we offer culturally-competent health services for everyone, regardless of their gender.  We offer primary care, short-term behavioral health services, and much more. Schedule an appointment with us today.


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