You’ve definitely heard of the gender pay gap by now, but did you realise there’s an aching gender chasm in medical health research, too?
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the ongoing history of women’s issues being swept under the carpet by male leaders and experts, despite us making up at least half of the world’s population, periods and menstruation induce pain and complications suffered by millions. And yet still many scientists don’t believe it worthy of properly funded research.
This is where Anna Villarreal comes in. The CEO of Boston company LifeStory Health is on a mission to close the gap in medical research and needs your menstrual blood to do it.
She’s aiming to develop the world’s first non-invasive menstrual blood diagnostic test in order to gather information to treat female-only diseases.
Writing for CEO World Magazine, Villarreal says: “Think about it – women’s bodies are different from men’s in nearly every way, yet we diagnose women as if they are men.
She believes the medical industry is “putting women’s health at risk” by refusing to address the gender balance in research. She adds that using menstrual blood specifically “provides access to hundreds of unique protein identifiers not found in other blood”.
It’s also currently something discarded as medical waste, so would be an economic approach to testing.
“It seems incredible that after hundreds of years of research, no one has isolated this approach, but this provides an opportunity to close the sex gap in medical research quickly, effectively, and economically,” she says.
The project is currently only just beginning, but we’ll be keeping an eye on LifeStory Health’s progress and help out where we can to end the injustice of gender unequal healthcare.