20th February 2024

Sexism and misogyny in the health system is creating poor health outcomes for women. 

In partnership with Benenden Health, the Fawcett Society is today publishing The Gender Health Gap: Our Stories, six real-life stories of women's experiences in the health system and the impact on work and life. 

Read The Gender Health Gap: Our Stories

These stories are powerful accounts of what happens when our public services do not take women's concerns seriously: late and incorrect diagnoses, exacerbated symptoms and often outright dismissal.

All of this is often made worse by workplaces that let down their women employees by a lack of understanding and support, as is made so clear by these stories.

Fawcett is proud to partner with Benenden Health on the Gender Health Gap 2024 campaign, and these stories are published in parallel to new data from Benenden Health that shows:

  • Nearly two thirds (60%) of women in the UK believe their health issues are not taken seriously 
  • More than half (57%) of women have had a negative experience with a healthcare professional
  • The UK is losing 150 million working days each year due to women's poor health and a lack of suitable support 
  • Four in ten (42%) women have heard derogatory comments about a female employee's health in the workplace

Jemima Olchawski, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society said:

At Fawcett, we believe in workplaces that work for women, at every stage of life, which is why it is so important for us to partner with Benenden Health on its new campaign. Research like this shows just how much work there is still to be done in even just beginning to understand how stark inequality is in the UK today, and in ways that can seem ‘invisible’.

“It’s time for change. The current system doesn’t work for anyone: women are being let down and the cost to business is enormous. We hope some of the clear solutions offers in this research will encourage employers and Government to step up to the challenge and build a system that works better for women, in order to begin closing the Gender Health Gap.

Rebecca Mian, Head of Human Resources at Benenden Health said:

“While we already knew that a gender health gap exists in the UK, it has been eye-opening to see how this presents, for example in the workforce with women missing so many days at work due to health challenges.

Often, women are facing these challenges due to a lack of understanding about their health, so it is vital that we can help to develop this.

We're really thankful for the Fawcett Society's support in bringing this campaign to life by exploring stories of women who didn't get the empathy and understanding they needed.”

If you believe that health systems should take women's concerns seriously, become a Fawcett member today and join our movement for change. 

Help us close the Gender Health Gap.