Women turn to brands for health advice after feeling left out by professionals

Women turn to brands for health advice after feeling left out by professionals

Women want brands to provide more health information, which presents huge opportunities for brands to advocate for their customers.

Nearly half of women say not taking health professionals seriously is a major issue when accessing health care, according to a survey released today by the leading health communications agency Thrive.

Two-thirds of the women in the survey said their health or well-being had been negatively affected by poor language or tone from online advice or from a medical professional.

Meanwhile, more than three-quarters of brands want to provide more health information, which presents huge opportunities for brands to advocate for women. These opportunities are explored in detail in Thrive’s Change the narrative summary for the brand.

“The lack of empathy in the health sector leads to self-doubt and anxiety for many women. This is the time when brands can take charge and provide the accessible, expert-led, empathetic information that women need.”

Sarah Redshaw, Thrive Content Director

The poll comes at a time when The gender health gap is gaining wider recognitionFollowing the appointment of Maria Caulfield, the UK’s first female minister for women’s health, the launch of the Women’s Health Scotland Scheme, and a pledge for the well-being of postmenopausal women in the workplace. In 2021, Organon also became the first dedicated women’s pharmaceutical company.

Thrive conducted the survey to dig deeper into the personal impact of the gap, Knowing that female conditions and their impact on women’s health are often undiagnosed and overlooked. Little is known about conditions that only affect women, and women are often more likely to be misdiagnosed than men. A misdiagnosis is especially dangerous when it comes to heart disease, with women more likely than men to die of a heart attack.

Over 1,000 women in the UK were asked to choose the three main issues in accessing health care from a list of 12 options. It was the most selective option, chosen by more than 44% of women “not taken seriously by healthcare professionals”. This was closely followed by a “lack of understanding of women’s lives and experiences” and a “lack of understanding of women’s bodies”, again pointing to issues related to the gender health gap.

In the survey, 77% of women wanted to see more health information from brands. But they said it should be direct, expert-led, empathetic, and free from stereotypes.

Elsewhere, when asked to choose the advice they would like to give their younger selves out of a series of options, looking after their mental health came first, followed by the phrase “don’t be embarrassed about your body.”

Sarah Redshaw, Thrive’s director of content, said the survey results were worrisome but provided useful insight into what needs to be done to close the gender health gap. It also represents an opportunity for brands to provide reliable and relevant health information as women who feel marginalized turn to alternative sources of advice, she added.

“The lack of empathy in the health sector leads to self-doubt and anxiety for many women. This is the time when brands can take charge and provide the accessible, expert-led, empathetic information that women need.”

Sarah added: “There has been a lot of progress in the last year to try to narrow the gender health gap but there is still a long way to go. We wanted to identify some of the issues related to inequality so that action can be taken to address them.

“The fact that physical embarrassment and mental health were so high in survey responses when women were asked what advice they gave their younger selves makes it difficult not to associate these concerns.

“But we must also address the incredibly troubling fact that women feel that they are not taken seriously when it comes to their health and also that their health and well-being is affected by poor language and tone, whether that information is online or from a health professional.

“The factors that play a role in the gender health gap are clearly complex and deeply rooted, but connecting with women in a way that makes them feel supported is essential when it comes to closing this gap.”

Thrive Narrative change The Brand Brief reveals key insights and opportunities for brands to leverage content and create empowering connections with women. Could you Download it here.

You can also contact the agency at LinkedIn And if you would like to discuss how we can help you with your health communications, contact info@thriveagency.uk

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