Gender medicine and post pandemic: we are in 2024, but what is the situation of female health?

Over the past few years, the world has been witnessed with profound transformations in the sphere of the Global Health and in the same Global Health Workforce. 

The Covid-19 pandemic, in fact, highlighted the fragility and critical issues of the individual health systems and has paid attention to the different disparities present, including those related to the genre. 

2024 opens up before us as a crucial chapter in the history of global health and gender medicine emerges as one of the central elements in this narrative. 

After the devastating impact of the pandemic, it is essential to carefully examine how female health has evolved, considering, yes, the multiple challenges and potential opportunities that are outlined on the horizon, but above all the critical points and differences present at the same level towards men.

The concept of gender medicine emerged as a response to gender inquity that permeate not only society, but also the field of health.

Gender medicine aims to analyze and understand the biological, psychological and social differences between men and women, recognizing that gender has an essential role in the health of each individual. 

Gender disparities in medicine go beyond mere anatomical differences: they also involve social, cultural, linguistic and economic factors.

In the context of the recent health emergency, these differences have emerged in a more evident way, highlighting the inequalities in the distribution of the workload, in accessing resources and in vulnerability to specific health impacts.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected women to a greater extent, with a double risk of developing long-term syndromic paintings and a higher probability of presenting persistent and more intense symptoms. According to the data of the European Institute for Gender Equality, out of 49 million people employed in the health sector, one of the most exposed to the virus, 76% were women, who were moreover, over-representative in the essential services remained open during the pandemic .

The situation generated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with the relative restrictions and the spread of work from home, imposed on women, which constitute 80% of the caregiver, further responsibilities related to care, caused by the closure of schools and services for childhood and for the elderly. 

This complex condition forced them to balance the needs of smart working with those of family care. 

According to reports from over 142 countries, violence against women has increased as a result of the government measures adopted to counter the spread of the virus. 

This figure is extremely worrying, especially considering its long-term consequences, which go beyond the psycho-physical aspects and include isolation, inability to work and limited ability to take care of themselves.

Women in Italy, as in many other parts of the world, are designated by society, of a patriarchal mold in which, unfortunately, we live tuttə, as primary caregivers within families. 

Tackling these disparities requires a long -term commitment to create more equipped and more centered health care systems on the patient.

One of the most delicate and urgent aspects concerns the mental health of women. 

The pandemic has highlighted the growing load of stress and anxiety, with women who often play the role of primary caregiver and it is the only - and alone - to manage the maintenance of the balance between work and family life. 

This role can lead to considerable challenges for their health, as they often neglect their medical needs to take care of others. 

The lack of support for caregiving and the lack of adequate corporate policies to guarantee work flexibility can further aggravate the situation, hindering access to care for women.

In 2024, it is necessary to invest in specific female mental health programs, recognizing the importance of dealing with complex challenges related to psychological well -being, which may have long -term impacts on overall and general health.

Another crucial element in the panorama of female health is thefair access to care and prevention. 

Economic, cultural and geographical barriers must be addressed to ensure that every woman has access to high quality and preventive care, thus helping to reduce health disparities.

It is essential to evaluate whether women have the same accessibility to screening, treatments and preventive resources compared to men. 

Gender medicine must guide the implementation of policies and medical practices that guarantee fair and personalized treatment for women in all stages of life.

There reproductive health It is an equally fundamental aspect of female health, but many women in Italy still face significant challenges in accessing these services. 

Access to contraceptives, consultancy on family planning and voluntary pregnancy interruption services can be limited by cultural, religious and legislative factors, especially if the coalition of parties to the government is against it. 

These restrictions put the health and well -being of women at risk, forcing them to seek solutions in unsafe contexts or to face unwanted pregnancies.

Another of the main obstacles to access to care, for women, in Italy, is represented by economic and socio -cultural disparities: Women with income and lower scholarships often face more difficulties in accede to quality medical services. 

All this because women, for the same working duties, are paid less than colleagues men and why not all women, especially in a certain historical period past, have been able to continue their studies compared to their brothers or other men. 

This difficulty in accessing care derives from what gender gap is in all its various categories.

The lack of financial resources, then, can hinder participation in preventive screening, medical treatments and access to specialized care, thus contributing to a vicious circle of lower health opportunities. 

In addition, cultural differences can influence the perception of health and the use of care: linguistic barriers, socio -cultural stereotypes and lack of sensitivity from health personnel can prevent women from fully accessing medical services, as can be read in some examples proposed From Valentina Raparelli and Daniele Coen in their book "That voice that nobody listens - the way to health medicine for everyone", where the theme of gender medicine, in all its facets, is the protagonist.

"Anna had a pulmonary embolism, but the emergency room doctor postponed her home with a sedative: it is known that women often suffer from anxiety. 

Intestinal pain? If you are a woman, it is easier for it to be caught in the "irritable colon syndrome" and is not the subject of adequate diagnostic investigations, compared to what happens for a man. "

The question relating to stereotypes is evident towards all women, but particularly women of immigrant communities, where linguistic and cultural barriers often further complicate access to care.

At the same level, albeit visible much less clearly, another also important criticality is that of research in medicine.

Medical research in the field of gender medicine must remain at the center of the scientific agenda and must continue to be a driving lighthouse. 

It is essential to better understand the biological and physiological differences between men and women.

In the context of controlled randomized clinical studies, currently only 20% of the patients enrolled are women.

 In addition, only half of the clinical studies on which we base our evidence and the guidelines consider specific analyzes related to the genre. Of these, only 35% carry out analyzes for subgroups.

In 2024 it is necessary to promote greater inclusion of women in clinical trials and in the field of research, ensuring that the results are representative for both sexes, facing historical sub -representation.

Only through a thorough understanding of biological and physiological differences and an approach based on scientific evidence representative of both sexes can we develop personalized therapies and targeted treatments, which take into account specific biological variations to women.

In fact, drugs can have more or less marked effectiveness depending on whether it is a man or woman to take them and there may be different adverse events. 

Normally, the woman is more subject to the adverse effects to the drug and also to the ospeningization from adverse effects to the drug, because historically the drug is studied mainly only in humans. 

The medical and scientific community, which deals with research and training, therefore, cannot fail to pay attention to the fact that, at this moment, 90% of the drugs that have been developed and that are used have been studied and developed for The male gender, as well as 70% of medical devices.

To build a sustainable future for female health, therefore, it is necessary to consider gender medicine as a continuous priority and not only as an immediate response to individual emergencies.

A therapy for the acute event should not be proposed, but you have to think about the long term and prevent.

This implies the integration of health policies by the Government and the Ministry of Health that take into account the specific needs of women, the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the creation of a support network that faces the different situations in which the women can be found in the different stages of life. 

2024 must be a crossroads for female health and a crucial moment to reflect on the current state of female health in the post-plaintiff context. 

The latter must not only be a recovery period, but also an opportunity to reformulate and improve health systems to guarantee fair and effective health for all people, regardless of gender. 

Only through a holistic and centered approach on the person can we hope to build a future in which female health is a recognized and supported priority.

A first step is the recognition through the pink stamps conferred by Onda, the National Observatory on Woman and Gender Health, to the hospitals attentive to women's health and which are distinguished by the offer of services dedicated to prevention, diagnosis and care of the main female pathologies. 

The welcome and accompaniment to women and services offered for the management of victims of violence (e.g. pink code within the emergency room) are also taken into consideration.

Thus the hospitals with the pink stamp represent for the population the opportunity to be able to choose the most suitable place of care for their needs.

With the aim of spreading the initiative and promoting a genre approach in the preventive field, the pharmacies were invited to exhibit the poster of the campaign. 

In this way, once again, the pharmacy has confirmed its role as a health and bridge health garrison between Cittadinə and hospital, to clearly and correctly inform women so that they can take care of their health.

To deal with these critical issues, it is therefore imperative that Italy adopts concrete and targeted measures. A wider inclusion of women in the decision -making processes concerning healthcare, policies attentive to the genre and educational programs based on gender medicine for health personnel can help reduce disparities in access to treatments. 

The path to equality in accessing care for women in Italy requires a multidimensional commitment by governments, health institutions and singles of the city. 

Only through an integrated and sensitive approach to the genre can we hope to create a health system that guarantees all women the right to complete and fair health.


Lorenzo Ciol

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