Women's Health Information

While women in the UK on average live longer than men, women spend a significantly greater proportion of their lives in ill health and disability when compared with men.

While women make up 51% (51.3% in Southend) of the population, historically the health and care system has been designed by men for men.

This ‘male as default' approach has been seen in:

  • research and clinical trials.
  • education and training for healthcare professionals
  • the design of healthcare policies and services

Actions being taken through the Womens Health Strategy

 This strategy sets out how we will go further with our 6-point long-term plan for transformational change:

  1. Ensuring women’s voices are heard – tackling taboos and stigmas, ensuring women are listened to by healthcare professionals, and increasing representation of women at all levels of the health and care system.
  2. Improving access to services – ensuring women can access services that meet their reproductive health needs across their lives, and prioritising services for women’s conditions such as endometriosis. Ensuring conditions that affect both men and women, such as autism or dementia, consider women’s needs by default, and being clear on how conditions affect men and women differently.
  3. Addressing disparities in outcomes among women – ensuring that a woman’s age, ethnicity, sexuality, disability or where she is from does not impact upon her ability to access services, or the treatment she receives.
  4. Better information and education – enabling women and wider society to easily equip themselves with accurate information about women’s health, and healthcare professionals to have the initial and ongoing training they need to treat their patients knowledgably and empathetically.
  5. Greater understanding of how women’s health affects their experience in the workplace – normalising conversations on taboo topics, such as periods and the menopause, to ensure women can remain productive and be supported in the workplace and highlighting the many examples of good practice by employers.
  6. Supporting more research, improving the evidence base and spearheading the drive for better data – addressing the lack of research into women’s health conditions, improving the representation of women of all demographics in research, and plugging the data gap and ensuring existing data is broken down by sex.

The strategy goes on to set out our approach to priority areas related to specific conditions or areas of health where the call for evidence highlighted particular issues or opportunities:

  • menstrual health and gynaecological conditions
  • fertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss and postnatal support
  • menopause
  • mental health and wellbeing
  • cancers
  • the health impacts of violence against women and girls
  • healthy ageing and long-term conditions

The 10-year timeframe of this strategy recognises that achieving our ambitions requires long-term cultural and system changes. There are a number of areas where we can be clear on what change needs to and will happen, and in others more work will need to be done to develop solutions, which will be delivered in the longer term.