By Khadeja Haye, MD, MBA, FACOG, National Medical Director, Acute Hospitalist Medicine, OB/GYN Hospitalist
Women’s Equality Day is a time to remember all the equality women have achieved over the years– social, civil, economic, political and legal. It is also a time to raise awareness for all those we still lack or have lost in that same time. Commemorating days like this calls for all women to fight for each other, especially those women who may not be like them. While we may be of a different race, religion, sexual orientation or economic status, our shared goals bring us together. It is also an opportunity for men to understand the challenges women have and continue to face, and to do their part to help achieve equal rights and standing. However, today and as an OB/GYN, I want to focus on healthcare equality.
Promoting Healthcare Equity
Quality, compassionate healthcare is my primary goal for women all over the country, and ultimately, the world. I want to see women base their healthcare decisions on what is best for them – their physical health and mental well-being. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Many times, women base their care on cost. A Kaiser Family Foundation study reports women incur greater health care costs than men, particularly during the reproductive years. Despite a lower uninsured rate than men (11% vs 14%), women are more likely to skip a recommended medical test or treatment due to cost.
Race plays a major role in this spending as well. Another study shows minority populations often don’t have access to high-quality care or don’t receive care until they experience advanced illness. The disparity of care in these populations must be addressed for women to ever have the opportunity to receive the care they need and deserve.
In addition, we must work to correct the underrepresentation of women in health studies. A 2021 study found that in almost 75% of the cases where a disease afflicts primarily one gender, the funding pattern favors males, in that either the disease affects more women and is underfunded or the disease affects more men and is overfunded. This gender bias must be addressed in order for women to receive the benefit of new science and advancement in treatments for a variety of illnesses.
Honoring Women’s Equality Day 2022
Today, I urge anyone reading this to gain awareness about these issues and others that affect women. It’s time to spread information and continue to fight for equality, in healthcare and all aspects of life for women everywhere.
Learn more about TeamHealth’s efforts and initiatives in diversity, equity and inclusion here.