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

Eagle eyes are needed for new club space

Archery club in P.R. aims for storage space as well as shooting range

Prince Rupert wolf attack on man reported on social media unsubstantiated, said COS

Investigation found no evidence of wolf attack on Moresby Trail

Necropsy for Port Edward wolf is inconclusive

Samples sent for forensic analysis; wolf sightings continue; bushes removed at attack site

Seafest parade sails on June 27

Tides are turning during COVID-19 for Prince Rupert parade

Prince Rupert school district fires superintendent

Dr. Irene LaPierre removed from position immediately.

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘Great Regional Air Hug’ being organized by the Vanderhoof International Airshow Society

A multi-aircraft flyover over the region is being planned for August 15.

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read