Three Ways to Support Women’s Health
July 1, 2022 - General News - Posted by Women's Foundation Team
One of our top priorities is to improve the health of Mississippi women. And while we ensure this by supporting evidence-based and medically accurate sex education, and providing grant funds to programs that provide essential health resources to women in the state, we recognize that improving women’s health is something we can all take part in. Read on to learn how you can help support women’s health and more!
Stay in the Know
One way you can help support women’s health is by staying up-to-date on where to find local health resources. Sharing this information with the women in your life can help them feel supported in their health care decisions and can help reduce health disparities.
Another, and equally important, way to support women’s health is by staying informed on what policies are impacting women’s health in Mississippi. Doing so not only ensures that you’re supporting legislators that are actively supporting women’s health, but it also ensures that you are well-informed when you cast your vote.
Boost Health Advocacy
Studies have shown that women are more likely than men to face gender discrimination from their health care providers. This bias often impacts women’s post-operative care, where they are less likely to receive the pain medication they need after surgery, and are more likely to be told that their pain is psychosomatic or the cause of mental distress.
In addition to experiencing gender bias, women find it harder to connect with their health care provider due to a lack of “compassionate care” and may feel rushed during their appointment, or may feel the need to lie to their health care provider because of embarrassment or time constraints.
This is especially true for women of color, who sometimes experience racial bias or prejudice during their check ups in addition to gender bias. Addressing these issues are paramount to promoting the health of Black women and women of color, as they are most in need of quality treatment and maternal care due to a higher likelihood of developing chronic disease.
In some cases, women of color prefer to be treated by a doctor who is the same race as them in order to feel more comfortable during appointments and have more confidence in their treatment plan. Research conducted by Stanford Health Policy found that Black patients were 29% more likely to talk to their doctors about their health issues and undergo further testing or treatment for their illness. This is likely due to patients feeling more comfortable communicating their health needs to their health care provider.
It’s important to take all of this into consideration when sharing ways in which women can advocate for their health. Advise them to have a list of their health history ready, and to have a list of questions for their doctor prepared beforehand. Remind them that they can always change their health care provider if they feel misunderstood, dismissed, or unfairly treated. By being a health advocate, you can help other women make the most of their appointments and get treatment that meets their needs.
Be an Ally
Above all else, be an ally for women. If you’re a business owner or employer, be sure to provide insurance plans that reduce out-of-pocket costs. Not only will this improve the likelihood that your female employees will get the care they need, it will also improve workplace morale and help women feel supported at their workplace.
You can also offer paid parental leave for new moms and ensure that there are safe spaces for them to safely practice pumping or breastfeeding when they return to work. Create a work environment where women feel supported in sharing their thoughts and medical needs.
Click here to learn more about how we’re supporting women’s health and for more ways to show your support.