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When it comes to our health and wellbeing, transparency and availability of information is extremely important. Having access to the latest research and health advice enables each of us to make informed decisions about our bodies and habits. This in turn promotes self-advocacy and healthier lifestyles! However, when it comes to Women’s health, information about health and wellbeing might not be as readily available as we might think.

In the spirit of the Women’s Health Week theme this year, “Grow Your Knowledge”, we are going to explore these gaps in knowledge.


happy women discussing women's health pointing to paper looking at computer


Historically, more research has been performed on men, not women.

For much of history, medical and health research has predominantly focused on men, often overlooking the unique physiological, hormonal, and psychological differences that women possess. This gender bias in research is rooted in several factors, including societal norms, historical perspectives, and even concerns about the complexities of studying women’s health. This article by Associate Professor Severine Lamon and Dr. Olivia Knowles at Deakin University investigates the reasons behind this bias.

The focus on men’s health in research has created large and concerning gaps in our understanding of women’s health. Recognizing the differences between men and women in research and embracing gender diversity in clinical studies are crucial steps toward addressing these gaps.


Where do these gaps exist?

Knowledge gaps in women’s health exist across various areas of medical and healthcare knowledge. According to McKinsey and Co, shortcomings exist at each stage of the “data value chain” in women’s health. Some of the key domains where these gaps exist include:

  • Cardiovascular health
    • Cardiovascular research has heavily focused on men, leading to a lack of understanding about how heart disease and related conditions manifest in women. Symptoms of heart disease can differ between genders, and risk factors might affect women differently.
  • Autoimmune diseases
    • Conditions like lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis disproportionately affect women. Yet, much of the research into these diseases has been conducted on male subjects
  • Pain management
    • Pain perception and responses to pain management strategies can differ between men and women. However, many pain studies have excluded women or included only a small proportion of female participants.
  • Hormonal health and reproduction
    • Women’s reproductive health is intricately linked to hormonal fluctuations, from menstruation to menopause. However, hormonal cycles introduce complexities that are often not fully addressed in research. This can impact everything from contraception and fertility treatments to menopausal symptom management.
  • Mental health
  • Bone health
  • Cancer research
    • Some cancers affect women differently from men. Breast and ovarian cancers, for instance, have distinct risk factors, symptoms, and treatment responses that require gender-specific research for effective prevention and treatment strategies.



What is being done to address these gaps?

In recent years, many new efforts have been made to address this knowledge gap, empowering women to make better-informed decisions about their health. Transparent health information helps everyone understand risk factors and warning signs for various health conditions. Furthering knowledge like this would help women to take preventive measures and seek medical attention at an early stage, potentially preventing the progression of diseases and health risks.

Jean Hailes’ Women’s Health Week is one of the major leaders in these efforts to improve transparency and availability of information. Every September, the Jean Hailes charity chooses five different topics of women’s health to focus on and provide accessible information on. This year, the theme for Women’s Health Week is “Grow your Knowledge”, and the program will be focusing on:

  • Health Checks
  • Pain
  • Hormones
  • Women’s health in the workplace
  • Nutrition for women

For more details you can check out the week’s program here!

This recognition of women’s health acts as a fantastic prompt for people all around Australia to stop, think, and consider the unique qualities of women’s health. Jean Hailes Womens Health Week attracts over 200,000 registered event attendees across Australia, and the online events have hosted over 5 million people.


If you think you could benefit from updated, evidence-based health information for decision-making, or advice to form healthy lifestyle habits, get into contact with our friendly team today! Backed by the latest info, our doctors have helped countless women to build habits and provided information so they can independently make healthier decisions.

Exercise physiologist discussing women's health