But I also hear stories about all kinds of physical and mental health conditions being dismissed or misdiagnosed.
In some cases it’s quite literally a matter of life or death, like a delayed cancer diagnosis, or the fact that two women a day die needlessly from heart attacks because they receive worse quality care than men. In other instances, women are left needlessly suffering chronic pain, disability or mental illness, all because a healthcare professional didn’t take them seriously.
These stories are invariably frustrating, infuriating and upsetting to read – not least because I love the NHS and know there are many brilliant, over-worked and under-resourced, healthcare professionals doing their best to provide all their patients with the best possible care. This isn’t about blaming individuals, but looking at the deeply ingrained systemic issues at the root of the problem.
Like everything, gender bias in healthcare intersects with myriad other forms of conscious and unconscious bias, impacting all the more heavily on women of colour, lesbian, bisexual and trans women, disabled women, working class women, neurodivergent women, as well as trans men and non-binary people who are misgendered as women in healthcare settings.
Black women are five times more likely than white women to die during pregnancy or childbirth, for example, while members of the LGBT community suffer higher levels of mental ill health than heterosexuals and face widespread discrimination in healthcare.