8 responses to “Disability Is A Feminist Issue: Gendering Health Access”

  1. Emily

    Thank you. I really enjoyed this post.

  2. Gwenn

    I’m so glad I ran across this article and your blog! Thank you for bringing attention to this issue.

    I have endometriosis, another mostly female disease. To my mind, endo reveals the gender disparity of our world quite poetically. Let’s face it: if it were men who had pain during sex, we would have found a cure for endo long ago.

  3. Lynzie

    This is so, so true. I suffer from severe anxiety and depression, and neither of these are “real” disabilities in most peoples’ eyes, including my family’s. When I finally managed to psych myself up long enough to go to DSHS to apply for Medicaid, I was literally told by the social worker than I’d be lucky if I managed to get onto it, and that I’d have significantly higher chances if I got pregnant. She said it in such a way that it was almost, “Have you considered getting pregnant for this purpose?”

    I was told that I had to come back in two weeks for a psych eval to determine whether I was eligible. I stayed up all night psyching myself up to go, and after a humiliating interview I was told I’d find out my results within a month. I did manage to get onto Medicaid, thankfully, but it turns out that there are two different types of Medicaid… one which covers mental health, and one which does not. Can you guess which one I was put onto?

    I couldn’t bring myself to go back a third time to argue it, so I found a doctor who accepted Medicaid… literally the only one in my city who was taking new Medicaid patients. The practice is hugely overworked; they service pretty much all of the poor and Spanish-speaking women in my area. The earliest appointment I could get was three weeks out. My doctor put me on some anti-depressants which made me physically ill, but I couldn’t get another appointment to get a new prescription for another month. I could go on, but I think you all get the picture.

    It’s been nearly a year and I’m still suffering from the same ailments, and it’s not due to lack of effort on my part. I finally convinced myself to go to the Community Service Office on Monday to ask what I had to do to get switched to the proper version of Medicaid, and I was actively discouraged by the social worker I spoke to, and I simply do not have the mental capacity to fight this alone.

  4. coldneedles

    Great post, especially the bit about conditions that mostly affect women not being seen as real. I have ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and there’s certaintly a lot of sexism demonstrated in public attitudes and in research.

    I have one nitpic, when you say “conditions like chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia”, it’d be better to use Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as chronic fatigue is a symptom of many conditions rather than a condition in itself. Using simply chronic fatigue reinforces the problems that already exist with the CFS name; basically that the only symptom is fatigue, whereas for a diagnosis in most countries you need additional symptoms.

  5. coldneedles

    Thanks, sorry I was explaining something that you already knew.

  6. Trisha W

    Being a woman with a psychiatric disability, I agree with everything you’ve said… Except for the fundamental thought that gender is the primary cause of the inequities. It is MUCH more an issue of low income/poverty, than it is gender. I have had my disability all of my adult life and have been in the “poor but not poor enough” category all of that time. I am truely one of those who has to choose between eating or paying for drug co-pays and Dr. bills. I am lucky enough that I am able to advocate for myself somewhat, and yes, trying to convince some Dr’s that “the little woman” knows what she is talking about has been a struggle, but the wall I have to climb over gender issues is hugely over-ridden by the wall poverty presents. There is a societal discrimination against disabilities (as though any of us asked for it or can control it!). In my opinion, gender is not the primary factor, and that income & education are the largest contributory factors.

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