People expect their doctors to be perfectly rational voices. But patriarchy has consequences.
And the medical system is not immune.
This has made doctors take women’s health care less seriously, and sometimes in horrifying ways. Here are a few examples that show us how women suffer under a male-dominated medical system.
Women’s Health Care Often Ignores Pain
One of the biggest ways patriarchy delegitimizes women is by telling them that everything they experience is “in their heads.” From the 19th-centuries prevalent diagnosis of “female hysteria” to today, this can have a terrifying impact.
Today, this pattern continues whenever women try to seek treatment for pain. Whereas the physical pain of men is frequently taken seriously, this is not the case for the treatment of women.
Instead, the pain and physical struggles of women are frequently dismissed as either pure emotion or exhaustion. Doctors are more likely to tell women that their pain is in their head. They’re also more likely to diagnose other ailments as “chronic fatigue syndrome.”
Telling women that what they experience is just in their heads is one serious way the health care system is failing women.
Loss of Agency During Child Birth
Most people would hope that women are taken seriously and given choices during childbirth. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Women frequently have their agency taken from them during labor. Reasons for this include the health of the child and the ease of the doctor. Ways women are not taken seriously during this process include
Women are often forced to take drugs and painkillers during labor because it makes things easier for the doctor. In many of these cases, drugs are not necessary.
This creates real health concerns. It also takes away agency and has a serious impact on the experience of women during childbirth.
Trouble With Mental Health Diagnosis
When it comes to diagnosing mental health problems or learning disabilities, the system once again fails women in disastrous ways.
This is particularly true when it comes to the diagnosis of children. Women are severely under-diagnosed with Autism, and failure to give women the help they need from a young age makes other gender divide issues far more noticeable.
This is more than just a failing of the health care system. It’s a failing of the educational system and efforts to create equal opportunity worldwide.
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