Women face unique medical risks and barriers to care in Canada and around the world. Globally, nearly 300,000 women die each year from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. And, in our own country, women, especially those who are racialized or have low incomes, are less likely to see a regular doctor and are more likely to be hospitalized.
Improving care for women in Canada
It’s perhaps difficult to believe in Canada, but history shows that biases in diagnoses and treatments in Western medicine – from the “hysteria” diagnoses due to angry family members in previous centuries to “psychosomatic” diagnoses for physical symptoms in our current era – have targeted women, compared to men with similar social statuses or symptoms. A lack of research into the physiological differences of diseases and the varying effects of medicine between men and women hasn’t helped.
We should be able to create a world where the health and wellbeing of all women is prioritized, including providing urgent physical and mental healthcare, reaching out to women who can’t easily access care, offering sexual and reproductive education and services, and ensuring access to essential medicines and treatment to women and their families.
How charities supporting women’s health are alleviating suffering
These biases and barriers make up some of the reasons we must focus on women’s health in Canada and around the world. Charities here are doing just that. A diversity of organizations are conducting medical, social, and other research — and raising awareness of diseases and social issues that impact women differently or disproportionately.
Some of the charities, working with scarce resources, help to run maternal health programs in hospitals and clinics, while others provide information and services in homes for women diagnosed with breast, ovarian, cervical, or uterine cancer. Research foundations in obstetrics, gynaecology, oncology, and other fields publish ground-breaking studies, educate the public, and advocate for women’s rights. Such programs and research save lives and alleviate suffering among girls, women and their families – here and in other countries.
Many other charitable organizations offer practical or emergency services for women, including supporting healthy menstruation, assisting women and youth experiencing eating disorders, supporting women fleeing violence, and offering programs for women with short- and long-term mental health issues.
Primary healthcare for Black women and women from Asian and other communities face a different set of biases and barriers related to race, religion, culture, language, or immigration status, so charities manage health and drop-in clinics in specific communities, taking approaches that are inclusive, feminist, anti-racist, or anti-oppression.
You can help provide critical health care to women
To support the charities working to prioritize women’s health, CanadaHelps created the Women’s Health in Focus Fund, an easy way to support more than 90 charities dedicated to this Cause in a single transaction. Gifts made to this Fund are pooled together to achieve wide-reaching impact and to help Canadian charities continue their important work supporting women’s physical and mental health in Canada and abroad.