Women’s Health Is Less Discussed, Undertreated, and Underfunded

August 30, 2023

What health care marketers can do to bring attention to women’s health disparities.

// By Wendy Margolin //

wendy-margolin-headshotWhen it comes to women’s health, there’s a lack of attention, funding, research, and education. From the moment we start menstruating, it’s a secret. Girls are often embarrassed to tell their mothers, which is partly what makes Judy Blume’s book and recent movie, Are You There, God, It’s Me Margaret, so charming.

When we prepare for birth, we’re taught how to breathe through the pain, to put babies skin-to-skin, and how to protect the umbilical cord during baths. No one tells you that you’ll be sitting on ice or one side for weeks.

Pregnant women are lauded for their natural beauty, like when Olympic athlete Kara Goucher was plastered on billboards as a pregnant runner for Nike. What none of us knew until her recent memoir, The Longest Race: Inside the Secret World of Abuse, Doping, and Deception on Nike’s Elite Running Team, is that she wasn’t paid while pregnant. And she was forced to return to racing too soon after delivery, or she risked violating her Nike contract.

Goucher’s story as a working mom was typical. We should have known. Women are expected to head back to work too soon every day in this country — especially women working manual jobs at hourly wages.

Women’s health is about more than childbearing, and the more we shine a spotlight on the disparities and raise awareness, the sooner we can fund the research needed to support better outcomes and save more women’s lives.

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