Press Release about Launching "My Pain is Real" Campaign
11th October, 2022
Women in Egypt suffer from discrimination and gender inequality in all economic, social, and political aspects. According to the United Nations Organization for Women’s Rights (UN Women), “discrimination against women” is:
Any distinction, exclusion, or restriction made on the basis of sex that its effects or purposes involve not recognizing the rights and fundamental freedom of women in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil, or any other field, or restricting their freedom to enjoy or exercise these rights, regardless of their marital status and on the basis of equality between men and women.
There is a form of discrimination that women in Egypt, and all over the world, suffer from, namely, medical discrimination. This means that women receive less service or a delay in diagnosis as a result of being a woman. Discrimination against women in the medical field is due to the stereotyping of women by health service providers that they pretend to be ill, or are unable to bear the extra effort. The result of this profiling and discrimination is misdiagnosis and an increase in complications that could have been avoided if service providers took women’s complaints seriously.
Historically, women have been excluded from medical experiments, resulting in the production of drugs that are less safe or effective for them. Even today, participation in medical experiments still favors men, and not all drug research takes gender into account while analyzing the results.
One example of medical discrimination against women is endometriosis, a condition that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. Women often wait more than 7 years for a diagnosis, and many doctors believe that the symptoms of severe pain surrounding menstruation are ‘normal’. An on-time diagnosis can save women years of pain and suffering.
Another example is the common idea in Australia that heart attacks are a male disease only. This has led to inequality in health care, as over the last decade more than 8000 women have died as a result of the lack of gender equity.
In the “My Pain is Real” campaign, Tadwein for Gender Studies sheds light on the medical discrimination against Egyptian women by sharing women’s stories. Tadwein for Gender Studies also highlights women’s sufferings as a result of the delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis for being ’women’ only.