Skip to main content

Since We Last Spoke: The Stubborn Gender Gap

Updates to stories from the Pacific Standard archive.

In March, Maya Dusenbery published her book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick, confronting the sexism woven into medicine and research on women's illnesses. Dusenbery has long been a major voice in Pacific Standard's coverage of persisting gender inequality. Earlier this year, she wrote about a Grey's Anatomy episode she had been expecting "for years: the one that tackles the insidious gender bias within the medical system." The episode takes on disparities women face in receiving treatment for heart attacks, alongside the broader stigma against mental illness. Doing Harm expands on these inequities, finding that, while autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, and other debilitating illnesses disproportionately affect women, the medical field continues to silence those who speak of their symptoms.

Of her latest work, Dusenbery told Pacific Standard: "I hope that learning this history and seeing the research will make [women] less likely to accept medical dismissal. But it's important to acknowledge that women shouldn't have to bootstrap their way out of this problem. It's on the people within the research and medical communities to come up with solutions."

A version of this story originally appeared in the June/July 2018 issue of Pacific Standard. Subscribe now and get eight issues/year or purchase a single copy of the magazine.