How women’s health will be won by innovators who challenge the current state of inequality.
When it comes to health, the world treats men and women differently. Consider the topic of pain. Take a moment to think about the last time you truly experienced major discomfort. Now, imagine how frustrating it must be to have that pain marginalized simply because of your gender. This is a challenge women have been wrestling with for years. In 2018, the New York Times reported on how doctors can often downplay women’s health concerns. And as recently as this April, research by the University of Miami found that when men and women patients expressed the same amount of pain, observers viewed female patients' pain as less intense and more likely to benefit from psychotherapy versus medication. Whether it is issues around reproductive science, feminine hygiene, or many, many other issues that pertain to women’s health, women do not have access to a level playing field when trying to get the care they need. So what does this mean for innovation and insight teams looking to connect with women, specifically in the context of their health? In short, the companies that champion equal treatment, are the companies that will culturally prevail. Because if you explore the culture of women’s health, you will see that there is a cultural movement mobilizing that wants to challenge both inequality and stereotyping. Exploring dominant meanings in the culture of Women’s Health Using the MotivBase Trends Platform, we are able to identify the most dominant meanings that consumers are linking too and associating with the culture of women’s health. As you can see in the topic universe, consumers are concerned about gender stereotypes and prejudice. Consumers in this culture are also looking to increase the conversation around the issue (Talk Women) and improve the role of education, specifically among women, so women can then better advocate for themselves. The more we examine these meanings, the more we understand the underlying problem consumers are struggling to solve, and reveal how big the opportunity of championing women’s health could be for an insight and innovation team. How big? When we calculate the cultural growth occurring in the context of women’s health, we can see that this wave is primed to enter mainstream acceptance in the next two years. While relevant to 33.4 million people today, that number is primed to increase by 29.6%. Interestingly, growth in this culture used to be volatile but has started to stabilize. Meaning people are coming to a consensus on what is important when expressing their expectations around women’s health. By exploring the changes in topics that dominated the culture over a year ago, we can see that the pandemic increased awareness and accelerated a growing concern that there are stark inconsistencies in how men and women are viewed and treated. This is having a dramatic impact on the way people think about women’s health, and specifically how much they are “believed” when they are talking about the pain and suffering. Sadly, this issue affects the lower middle classes more. And the conversation is largely being driven by younger adults, and by women. Which is likely a large part of the problem. There is not enough general awareness and concern posed by older women, or men. Help Women Be the Change they want to see in the world If your organization plays in the women's health space, then you should be building solutions and innovations that aid in the equal treatment of women's health concerns. First and foremost, companies need to ask if they are satisfying their consumers core motivation when it comes to this issue. When we analyzed women’s health on our Trends platform, the most dominant motivation was consumers looking for help to reduce stigma around health issues. Namely, how can you help play a role in reducing the stigma around issues and topics that have traditionally been seen either as a symbol of weakness, moral wrongdoing, or inferiority. We can also see that consumers are actively looking to demystify issues via education and challenge conventional limits imposed on people because of their gender. This issue will increasingly grow in relevance with people as it becomes more dominant in culture. So no matter what your product is, if you are looking to be relevant to to women's health, this needs to be taken into consideration. Conclusion: If you are looking to build an innovation platform for women’s health that will withstand the next few years, you need to consider this emerging cultural shift. Because female consumers will find a way to level the playing field themselves. Companies that empathize with the challenges faced by women and find ways to empower them, will be the ones with the competitive advantage.