Despite science’s ever-developing understanding of health, its knowledge about women’s biological well-being is still lacking. In general, there is far less research into women’s health than men’s, and most existing medical health information is based on male bodies.
However, an increasing number of healthcare professionals are pushing for better focus and funding for women’s health. More resources are also being made accessible for the public to learn about women’s health, providing better transparency around research.
Below, we explain why there is a gender health gap and provide reputable online resources for you to learn more about women’s health.
Why Is There a Lack of Knowledge About Women’s Health?
Historically, female bodies (both animal and human) have been excluded from medical research for three main reasons:
- Fluctuating hormones. Due to the persistent idea that female hormonal cycles were a “nuisance” for controlled studies, female humans and animals were previously excluded from research in favor of male-only studies.
- Pregnancy. The risk of harming pregnancies has caused ethical issues for using fertile women in clinical trials.
- Lack of accessible options. In earlier research, during a time when women were considered the main primary caregivers, females were often unavailable to come to the trials when needed. Researchers didn’t offer accessible options and instead used males to conduct these studies.
To read more about medical gender bias and lacking research on women’s health, visit The Academy of Medical Sciences website. If you want to learn more about women’s health today, including what is being done in terms of research and support, then the following online resources can help.
1. Dr. Hazel Wallace—BSc, MSc, MBBCh (The Food Medic)
Known by many as the Food Medic, Dr. Hazel Wallace is a registered medical doctor and nutritionist. Covering all manner of health topics, Dr. Wallace is a women’s health advocate and shares her professional knowledge on all manner of related topics on a variety of online platforms.
You can find Dr. Hazel Wallace tackling women’s health and other important wellness topics on the following platforms:
- Instagram. @thefoodmedic is Dr. Wallace’s official (and blue tick-stamped) Instagram page, where she frequently shares women’s advice and insights into women’s health research and progress.
- The Food Medic Podcast. Available on Spotify, Apple, and Global, Dr. Hazel invites leading experts to share evidence-based advice on healthy living while clarifying conflicting well-being information you often find online.
- The Food Medic website. From free articles and recipes to webinars and courses, find a wealth of women’s health support on the official website. You can also sign up for the newsletter to receive women’s health info straight to your inbox.
Dr. Hazel Wallace has also written several books, including The Female Factor, which is available to buy on Kindle.
2. The NHS
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has an online hub of information and support on health, well-being, conditions, and more on its dedicated Women’s Health page.
If you’re looking for advice on women’s health, you can find a wealth of female-specific resources on the NHS website. Just a few of the many topics covered include:
- Periods. The NHS gives an overview of health conditions related to periods, including adenomyosis, endometriosis, and toxic shock syndrome. Tracking your fertility and ovulation can be useful for cross-referencing the information you read here with your own health.
- Reproductive health. Often a taboo topic in everyday discussion, you can learn about conditions that can affect your reproductive organs in this safe space.
- ADHD and Autism. Women and girls are more likely to go undiagnosed or present different symptoms of neurodiverse conditions, and so the NHS provides advice for seeking advice and diagnosis here.
The women’s health resources on the NHS website can provide you with more in-depth knowledge of your body and well-being and hopefully give you the courage to speak to your GP about any potential health concerns.
3. The Office on Women’s Health
Established in 1991 by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office on Women’s Health aims to provide comprehensive resources and support for women’s health issues. Here, you’ll find evidence-based information and resources that promote the health of women in the US.
The Office on Women’s Health is a truly robust database of information. Navigate to the A-Z of Health Topics to find a wide variety of subjects covered, including:
- Autoimmune and thyroid diseases.
- Mental health support (including for eating disorders).
- Fertility, infertility, menstrual cycle, and menopause.
- National weeks specific to women and girls (including National Women’s Health Week).
You’ll find fact sheets and health center locators for each of the listed topics on the website.
The Office on Women’s Health also runs a wide range of activities and programs to help advance policies and educate the public on women’s health. You’ll find information on these activities and ways that you can get involved within the About Us section of the website.
4. Society for Women’s Health Research
The Society for Women’s Health Research (SWHR) is a non-profit US-based organization that promotes research and improving women’s unique health needs through science, policy, and education. The ultimate goal is to make women’s health mainstream (as it should be!).
On the SWHR website, you’ll find the following resources:
- Facts about women’s health research. Learn about the health gap for women and the milestones within “The Inclusion of Women in Research.”
- Research initiatives. Stay in the loop with women’s health research on the SWHR blog.
- Events. SWHR regularly hosts science and policy events to raise awareness about the issues that affect women’s health research.
- Resource library. Find webinars, publications, peer-review articles, and other guides and tool kits that promote awareness around women’s health and sex differences research.
You can also sign up for the SWHR newsletter via the website to stay up to date with the latest news and developments in women’s health.
5. Women’s Health Journals
Free open-access journal sites aren’t just for students—they can provide a wealth of current information (and highlight past texts) on women’s health research.
Using journal sites to find information about women’s health is a great way to educate yourself as you’ll be reading peer-reviewed scientific reports and studies. Some reputable journal sites you can use include the following:
The best way to learn about women’s health is to use specific search terms to find topics you’d like to learn about. Including keywords such as “women’s health research” and “gender gap” can help here.
You Can Learn About Advancements in Women’s Health Research Online
While there’s still a long way to go for women’s health, progress is being made and an increasing number of resources are becoming available. Hopefully, the above resources can act like a starter pack for you to learn more about women’s health and empower you to take your health into your own hands.