The healthcare industry is a vast field, with millions of jobs and millions of healthcare personnel. And it’s no secret that the industry is heavily male-dominated. The healthcare industry, including physicians, nurses, and other medical professionals, has traditionally benefited from a male-dominated workforce, with women making up less than 20% of healthcare providers. Studies show that women personal 65% of health records and that men are the sole decision-makers for 74% of medical appointments. So, is this a gender bias in the healthcare field?
Gender bias in the healthcare industry is a hotly debated issue; some medical professionals claim that gender bias in healthcare exists, while others claim that today’s healthcare environment is gender-neutral. Despite the fact that jobs like managing healthcare coding audits or billing solutions can be outsourced without taking gender identity into account, individuals can debate whether or not gender bias exists when it comes to physical jobs. The truth lies somewhere in the middle: there is indeed gender bias in the healthcare industry, but it exists on both ends of the spectrum.
Did you know that women spend twice as much time in physicians’ offices as men? Women visit the doctor’s office more than men for preventive and primary care, and women account for 90 percent of visits to the doctor for complaints of sore throat, flu, colds, and respiratory infections. On top of those health concerns, women are more likely than men to experience mental illness and disabilities.
Healthcare, like almost all industries, is subject to biases. Women, in particular, can face barriers to accessing healthcare that men do not. When making healthcare decisions for people of all ages, gender should be considered, especially regarding men’s health.
The healthcare industry is ripe with studies and stories outlining how women are still at a disadvantage when it comes to receiving “equal” treatment compared to their male counterparts. But are there real statistical differences between how men and women are treated?
A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine shows evidence that sexism is widespread in the healthcare system. The study found that female physicians’ diagnoses of male patients were up to 20% lower than male doctors’ diagnoses of female patients. This inequality held true across a range of diagnoses, including asthma, abdominal pain, and headaches.
According to research papers, women in medicine face unique challenges. For example, women make up 51% of the nursing workforce but make up just 30% of physicians. Other studies show that women physicians are less likely to be assigned a leadership position, receive the same amount of research funding as men, and are paid less. So, is there a gender bias in healthcare? The World Health Organization argues that there is a “sexual bias” in the healthcare industry.
A recent study out of Johns Hopkins University has found that there is a gender gap in the use of certain healthcare services. Specifically, women are less likely to get mammograms, Pap smears, and colonoscopies than men. The study found that 17,000 women die every year from breast cancer that could have been prevented if they’d received a mammogram. The study concluded that men’s underuse of preventive healthcare is partly due to their reluctance to seek routine care. These studies clearly show that men and women are not receiving equal healthcare, which needs to be addressed.
While many aspects of healthcare have traditionally been thought of as masculine, one area where women have been traditionally and unfairly discriminated against in the workplace, while women have steadily fought for equality, they still face obstacles in the workplace, especially when it comes to healthcare. If a woman has a health concern, her employer can fire her for being “too sick to work.” Women are more likely to be fired for having a pregnancy-related illness than men are.
Women have long faced challenges in the healthcare system, but a new obstacle has recently emerged: gender discrimination. Women in the healthcare field continue to experience mostly the same pay and work environments as men, and this has created a growing divide in the healthcare field.
There have been several articles lately about the gender gap in healthcare. According to one 2011 study, women are more likely to receive mammograms (which test for breast cancer) but are less likely to receive prostate cancer testing, even though prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Men are 23% more likely than women to develop lung cancer. Another study found that women are more likely to be prescribed antidepressants than men, even though depression affects twice as many men as women.
The women’s movement in the US has been gaining traction over the years, and 2019 sees a continuation of this progress. After decades of “less than” the pay rates for women, it is now common for office jobs, as well as those in education and healthcare, to pay the same dollar amount as men’s jobs. However, healthcare is still lagging behind, and women are still paid less than men for doing the same jobs.