Al Jazeera has spoken to women who have had a major impact on their health and wellbeing and we have also spoken to doctors, nurses and other health workers to gain their perspectives on the role women play in women-only healthcare.
The stories of women in our country are so diverse and they are so different.
We hear so much about the role of women, especially when it comes to healthcare, in the health sector, in our society and in politics.
But we are so much more than that, and we need to listen and learn more.
We need to get out there and help shape the future of healthcare.
Al Jazeera spoke to: Aljazeera English’s Aljairo Pinto-Aguilar, a consultant in health and women’s health at the National Center for Women and Health (NCWHH) in Mexico City; and Dr Sarah Schuster, medical director at Women’s Health Canada.
Dr Sarah Schustner: The main thing that we hear is that women’s healthcare is one of the most neglected areas in the world, especially in the developing world.
There are not many women working in it, it’s one of those areas where we really need to focus more on this, particularly in the first 10 years of a country’s healthcare system.
In other parts of the world it’s often neglected or it’s not being adequately supported by health systems.
In Mexico, where we are working with, I think, a number of different NGOs, we are seeing a lot of work on this.
There’s a lot more attention being paid to the issue.
Women’s health in Mexico has improved dramatically over the last 10 years.
This has been a very important issue for us, because there’s a significant amount of inequity.
There has been very little support for women’s access to healthcare.
In fact, we’ve seen a lot less access in Mexico to preventive services, to primary care and for routine health care in general.
There is a huge gap between the amount of healthcare women receive and the amount that they actually need.
So we need more attention to this.
Aljaimo Pinsent: Women’s healthcare and health systems are not only about healthcare.
They are also about their personal lives.
As the first female health worker in Mexico, I have witnessed first-hand the difference in our culture and how we think about women’s empowerment and the role that we can play in the future.
The majority of Mexicans, especially women, are in the workforce, in school, and in their families.
They need access to health care, to education, and to social services.
So the fact that women are being sidelined in healthcare is quite a surprise to many.
So what does this mean for us?
Women’s empowerment is an important thing for women.
But I think there is a bigger picture here.
It means that we have to make a lot on our own, and this is something that we need in our societies.
Alarmingly, we have more women in the workplace, more women working outside the home, and more women being forced into the workforce.
The situation for women in Mexico is quite challenging.
The healthcare system is not working for us.
And the situation for other women is quite different.
Sarah Schusters: In the Philippines, for example, the government launched the National Women’s Medical Council in October, which is the first of its kind in the country.
The goal is to create a healthcare system that is gender inclusive and supports all women.
And what we are learning is that a lot has been achieved.
For example, women now make up more than 40 per cent of nurses in the Philippines.
The country is one step closer to becoming a truly women-friendly healthcare system and also a truly equitable one.
Alijairo is a health worker at NCWHH.
Sarah is a consultant and consultant in women and health.