Women and girls in England will be asked to share their experiences of the healthcare system in an effort to close the gender health gap.
Ahead of International Women's Day on Monday, 8th March, the government has announced a "12-week call for evidence" to help policymakers build a new Women's Health Strategy.
In its announcement, the government acknowledged that "less is known about conditions that only affect women", citing endometriosis as a prime example.
This is definitely something of an understatement. A recent inquiry found that on average, it takes a woman eight years to be diagnosed with endometriosis – even longer than previously thought.
The government also acknowledged that there is "evidence that the impact of female-specific health conditions... on women’s lives is overlooked".
Again, this is definitely an understatement. It is well known that women are more likely than men to be under-treated or inappropriately diagnosed for their pain.
"Every single woman I speak to, myself included, has experienced either misunderstanding or loss as a direct result of slow or inaccurate diagnosis of their health concerns," said Mika Simmons, co-chair of the Ginsburg Women’s Health Board and host of The Happy Vagina podcast.
"I am delighted that this – the gender health gap – which grew out of a severe lack of historical research into women’s health issues, is not only finally being acknowledged but that steps are being taken to right size it."
The call for evidence was also welcomed by Nimco Ali, OBE, a fellow co-chair of the Ginsburg Women’s Health Board, who said: "A healthcare [system] that listens to women is one that works for women and girls. I welcome the Department of Health’s commitment to placing women’s voices at the heart of our healthcare system.
"This will not only save lives but it will also improve the quality of life for millions of women in this country."
The call for evidence will begin on Monday, 8th March, amplified by various social media campaigns and media partnerships.