Pain and Prejudice

An incredibly important and powerful look at how our culture treats the pain and suffering of women in medical and social contexts. A polemic on the state of women’s health and healthcare.

One in ten women worldwide have endometriosis, yet is is funded at 5% of the rate of diabetes; women are half as likely to be treated for a heart attack as men and twice as likely to die six months after discharge; over half of women who are eventually diagnosed with an autoimmune disease will be told they are hypochondriacs or have a mental illness. These are just a few of the shocking statistics explored in this book.

In 2015, Guardian journalist Gabrielle Jackson wrote a piece about her own struggles with the crippling pain caused by endometriosis. It triggered such an overwhelming response that the Guardian launched a world-wide investigation into the disease. This time the response was so huge it almost crashed their website. Thousands contacted the Guardian and hundreds of thousands more read and shared the material.

This was the catalyst for Gabrielle thinking more widely about women’s pain and how it is viewed and treated not just by the medical profession but wider society. The stark reality is that women’s pain is not taken as seriously as that of men’s. We are more likely to be dismissed, fobbed off and denied treatment than men even though our bodies are vastly more complex.

This book is not just about physical pain, in fact that’s a small part of it. It’s about how women historically and through to the present day are under-served by the systems that should keep us happy, healthy, and informed about our bodies. What began as one issue has led Jackson to explore many. This book understands all the private moments where you have murmured ‘is this right’, ‘is this normal’ and explains why… that the system was built without ever understanding women or responding to their most painful experiences.

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