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Sexism in Health Care

Tools, Resources and Information on How Sexism Affects Health Care

Tools and Resources:

The Shifting Landscape of Health Care: Toward a Model of Health Care Empowerment

Disrupting gender norms in health systems: making the case for change

“Brave Men” and “Emotional Women”: A Theory-Guided Literature Review on Gender Bias in Health Care and Gendered Norms towards Patients with Chronic Pain

Gender discrimination in the United States: Experiences of women

  • Notably:
    • about one in five women (18 percent) reported gender‐based discrimination when going to a doctor or health clinic
    • 9 percent reported that they have avoided the doctor or seeking health care for themselves or their family, and the same percentage (9 percent) reported that they have avoided calling the police or other authority figures, even when in need
    • both Latina and black women report higher odds of gender discrimination in health care

From Top ways to curtail gender bias in healthcare:

  • Bring bias to light. Healthcare providers may have implicit bias when treating patients, he says. That’s why Johns Hopkins asks medical students to undergo testing to show if subconsciously they favor one group over another. “This helps them to appreciate their own subconscious biases,” he says. “By knowing they exist, they can do something about them.”
  • Develop check lists and protocols. Lynem-Walker says like Johns Hopkins, some healthcare systems are attempting to combat gender bias by developing patient check lists and protocols to treat each patient equally, regardless of gender or other characteristics.
  • Embrace diversity. A diverse workforce, comprised of individuals with various perspectives, can also help, says Clayton, who notes that a JAMAstudy found that older patients tended to have better outcomes when they had female doctors. The study implies that differences in practice patterns between male and female physicians may be the reason.
  • Other strategies include:
    • Increasing public awareness regarding gender bias;
    • Involving more women in clinical trials;
    • Reporting on sex-specific differences; and
    • Increasing patient education such as through the American Heart Association's “Go Red for Women” campaign.