Abortion and sexual health are still top ‘taboo’ women’s health issues10/08/2023
Abortion, sexual health, and menstruation are still the top “taboo” subjects surrounding women’s health, according to research. The study of 5,022 women found 29 percent believe there are stigmas around discussing menopause, while a quarter (24 percent) feel the same way about mental health.
This figure rises to 34 percent among 18-34s – but decreases to 13 percent in respondents over 55.
Of those who use social media, 36 percent have seen posts related to women’s health hidden due to “sensitive content”.
And only 19 percent believe information posted on women’s issues by health and wellbeing social media accounts is completely, or even mostly, accurate.
The report was created by research agency OnePoll, whose spokeswoman, Amy Price, said: “Taboos around women’s health perpetuate inequality.
“It’s time to challenge these norms, and ensure that women’s well-being is a priority in every conversation. We can no longer afford to overlook women’s health issues due to societal taboos.”
To combat the problem of women’s health issues being taboo in conversation, 65 percent believe education needs to start at school.
Exactly six in ten think more accurate data and information should be given to, and distributed by, the mainstream media.
And 46 percent want to see the end of censorship terms on social media, to help spread word of women’s health issues.
More than half (55 percent) of respondents believe the government isn’t doing enough to address women’s health issues on a societal level.
And the study also found 16 percent have taken steps to reduce their stress levels, as a result of a women’s health issue.
This was slightly higher among 18-24-year-olds (20 percent), 45-54-year-olds (19 percent), those in full-time employment (18 percent), and those with children aged five to 11 (20 percent) – and lower for those who are white (15 percent).
Just over three-quarters (76 percent) also believe they would not have been able to make life changes without the support of people around them.
More than half (60 percent) would actively talk and share a personal women’s health issue with close family members.
But of those who wouldn’t, 42 percent consider such things a “private matter”, while 20 percent would be too embarrassed.
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Gareth Lucy, spokesman for hygiene and health company Essity, said: “What’s particularly shocking about the taboos and stigma surrounding women’s health is that in some cases, we’re not talking about health matters that only a minority of women experience – we’re talking about matters that all women experience.
“For example, menstruation and menopause are a fact of life, so it seems incomprehensible that these are taboo subjects.
“Whatever barriers are preventing women from being able to talk openly and candidly about their health need to be broken down.
“The research tells us there’s a problem – now it’s up to government, industry, and healthcare professionals to work together and provide the solutions.”
Amy Price, for OnePoll.com, added: “Avoiding taboo topics doesn’t make them disappear, it only perpetuates the stigma.
“Women and men need to have courageous conversations, and create spaces for healing and change. Breaking taboos is not about shock value – it’s about opening the door to understanding and acceptance.”
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