The Medical Gender Bias: What is it and What’s Being Done?


In a perfect world, all medical care would be equal. Unfortunately,some people have greater access to healthcare than others. Even in countries that offer free healthcare to all, like the UK, there are still disparities between individuals and their ability to access good healthcare, particularly when it comes to gender.

Gender Biases in the Medical World 

The gender bias in healthcare refers to a medical gap between men and women. It stems from the fact that most medical research throughout history has focused primarily on the white male body, which has left a blind spot when it comes to women. As a result, certain conditions have been majorly misunderstood in women’s bodies, leading to problems with diagnosis. One example concerns heart attacks – due to the difference in risk factors and symptoms of CVD, it has been widely misdiagnosed in women. 

The Gap Extends to Medical Treatments 

This said, it’s not just about diagnosis – even women who have a proper diagnosis of their condition often receive worse treatment when compared to men. University College London ran a study that showed women received worse treatment for dementia when compared to men, for example. Then, there are issues surrounding care for mothers, with the Mother’s Care Report from 2019-2021 showing that maternal deaths have risen from 2009 by 15%.  

So, what’s being done about these issues concerning the medical gender gap?

Changes to Clinical Trials

The first step has been to uncover gender bias, particularly in clinical trials. Clinical trials are essential for developments in healthcare; all the time throughout the world, they bring forward new research that can help with diagnosing and treating patients. The problem has been that clinical trials have always focused more on men, meaning there isn’t as much knowledge about women’s health conditions. One way medical researchers are tackling this gender bias is by ensuring clinical trials cover both men and women. These efforts are a crucial step to ensure that there isn’t a blind spot surrounding women in healthcare. 

Using Technology

Another way the healthcare world is tackling gender bias is through newly developed technology – in particular, AI systems. This includes using AI in healthcare monitoring systems, with the hope that the technology could bridge the gender bias gap by monitoring changes in a person’s body. Crucially, that meansthat one of the engineers’ main goals is building AI technology that is completely free of bias. 

Women’s Health Strategy 2024

The UK government released the Women’s Health Strategy for 2024, which hopes to tackle issues such as the high costs of HRT, maternity disparities, maternity care, menopause, and menstrual problems. One of the ways it plans on doing this is by investing in more women’s health hubs, which ensures that more women have access to these hubs and can receive the proper care they need, whether that’s gaining access to contraception or receiving care throughout menopause. 

There’s Room for More Improvement 

The medical gender gap has not been filled in completely. While there have been steps in the right direction, more needs to be done to ensure women receive equal care when it comes to their health. Hopefully, these initial steps will make progress towards a brighter future in which medical gender bias is a thing of the past.