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

MP Morrison ‘disappointed’ in six-week delay for wage subsidy support

Kootenay-Columbia MP says small businesses and employees need financial help now

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

Positivity rocks! Golden resident brings positivity to community through painted rocks.

Brandi Romano hand crafts the rocks with her kids as a distraction from COVID-19

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes the Kootenays

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout parts of B.C. and Alberta

Avalanche blocked Highway 1 yesterday

Highway 1 over Rogers Pass was closed for most of the day

‘We don’t need this right now’: B.C. man breaks up road rage incident

Two men were throwing punches on Tillicum Road in Saanich on Vancouver Island

‘We will get through this’: B.C. sees new COVID-19 death, but 57% have recovered

A total of 1,066 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

COVID-19: ‘The Ballad of Bonnie Henry’ recorded and released

LISTEN: Quick turnaround for song penned by B.C. Order of Canada musician Phil Dwyer

Columbia Basin Trust announces $11.7 million in COVID-19 support funding

The funding will help businesses, First Nations, food banks, social service agencies and child care operators.

B.C. adding $300 to monthly income and disability assistance payments

‘Crisis supplement’ for COVID-19 for April, May and June

‘A matter of human decency’: Truckers’ union calls on gas stations, rest stops to fully re-open

Teamsters Canada wants feds, provinces to put pressure on facilities to re-open for transport workers

Migrant worker advocates blame feds, employers for COVID-19 outbreak at B.C. garden store

Migrant farm worker group calls on government for adequate health and safety requirements

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Most Read