Genesa Greening, CEO of BC Women’s Health Foundation in Vancouver for the release of a research report titled ‘In Her Words: Women’s experience with the healthcare system in BC’ on Oct. 9, 2019. (Black Press Media photo)

WOMEN’S HEALTH

‘I felt dismissed’: Report finds gender gap within B.C.’s healthcare system

New report sheds dire light on women’s experiences with B.C.’s healthcare system

A new report is painting a dire picture of women’s access to B.C.’s medical system in which many say they had doctors overlook their symptoms, have faced challenges seeking a specific kind of healthcare and have been stigmatized.

The research findings, released Wednesday by the BC Women’s Health Foundation and Pacific Blue Cross, is offering a first-of-its-kind look into what the foundation is calling a gender gap in Canada’s healthcare system.

Findings based on consultation with women of all ages and race across the province include that roughly one-in-three don’t feel that their health needs are being met and just over half said that a physician had diminished or overlooked their symptoms at least once.

“It took me three years to receive a Lyme Disease diagnosis,” one woman told the foundation. “I was misdiagnosed by my doctor, and then dismissed by seven doctors after that, each only recommending anti-anxiety medication. But I knew deep down something was seriously wrong.”

READ MORE: B.C. women are financially stretched, alarmingly stressed: survey

Three-in-ten women reported challenges accessing healthcare that they needed within the last year. That stat rose to three quarters – or 83 per cent – of Indigenous women ages 16 to 24 reported barriers accessing care they needed.

More immigrant and Indigenous women also reported facing barriers and stigma by doctors in B.C. than other women, the report found.

“I have re-occurring pancreatis,” one woman said. “They stigmatized me as an alcoholic, but I don’t drink. I was hospitalized, my levels went up while I was in the hospital and then they apologized for accusing me of drinking. But I have tattoos, and they judge you, and that stigma follows you.”

READ MORE: Health care key to prevent women from returning to prison: UBC study

Genesa Greening, the women’s foundation CEO, said the inequitable level of care women face comes despite women making up half of the population and living four years longer than men.

Greening told a room of foundation members and the public that healthcare research on diseases has historically been based on male anatomy, despite an acknowledgment that female biology is so different. That means that the male body became the baseline for preventable illnesses.

“Both biology and social factors need to be considered,” she said, adding that it is pretty easy to see that uniformed healthcare system will cause inequalities.

More to come.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Let’s break the silence because we can”

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s awareness walk held Saturday in Fort St. James

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Pretivm Resources reports fatality at Brucejack mine

The isolated incident occurred last Friday, and the employee passed away on Sunday in hospital

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Most Read