AWHF Shines Light on Why Women Deserve Better in Gripping International Women’s Day Campaign

Inspire Inclusion was this year’s International Women’s Day theme for the Alberta Women’s Health Foundation (AWHF) which included an exciting event held on March 8th to advocate for women’s health. Leading up to this event, captivating AWHF videos brought historical women’s health trends to the forefront while highlighting researchers that are working toward a future where gender equal healthcare is reality.  

Women’s health research is not only underfunded in Canada, only receiving 7% of all federal medical research funding, but also faces a staggering history of research that has only included the male body. This historical norm has created a gap in women’s health knowledge and outcomes as the physiology of women has different needs and responds differently to medications and equipment. 

- Nearly 75% of all adverse drug reactions are experienced by women.

- Only 9% of medications have been tested for safety in pregnant women.

- Women account for 70% of all patients with “medically unexplained” symptoms. 

The three researchers highlighted during the campaign included Dr. Meghan Riddell, Dr. Donna Vine, and Dr. Christy Lynn-Cooke who are leading brilliant efforts that drive gender parity in healthcare.  

Dr. Meghan Riddell is exploring how the uterus adapts to pregnancy and how the placenta forms. This will go on to change what we know and how we respond to pre-eclampsia or intrauterine growth restrictions that cause 10% of all high-risk pregnancies. 

"I think this is driven from this systemic lack of investment in women’s fundamental biology. We don’t understand how the placenta forms. We don’t understand how the uterus adapts to pregnancy. This is required for everyone to be here, but we don’t know anything about it. And that systemic exclusion of female tissues or even female participants from trials only perpetuates it. So, we need to start at the very beginning." - Meghan Riddell

Dr. Donna Vine actively reshaped women’s health with research focused on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), the most common female hormone disorder that affects one in ten women globally. 

"I just heard [women’s] pain. I heard how they had to go from one specialist to another to get a diagnosis. I heard about delays in healthcare. Not getting the healthcare they need. Not being taken seriously. And I think that’s when I went there HAS to be more that we can do." - Dr. Donna Vine

Dr. Christy Lynn-Cooke is creating change in women’s health with research that is focused on the cause of preeclampsia – a pregnancy specific disease where women develop high blood pressure and issues with organs often leading to intrauterine growth restriction due to limited blood flow, oxygen, and nutrients.  

"I think that in order to minimize biological variables many original experiments were done on men and not understanding that the physiology is so different between men and women. Women are the future because pregnancy holds the key to future generations and so only by having healthy pregnancies and then healthy offspring can we have success with a healthy population as a whole." - Dr. Christy Lynn-Cooke

We are working hard to close the gap in women’s health care by funding women’s health research in Alberta. Will you help us? Inspire Inclusion Today!

To view our 2024 International Women’s Day campaign and learn more about the researchers click HERE.