The Department of Health and Social Care in the United Kingdom recently released the Women’s Health Strategy for England. Using responses from close to 100,000 individuals and nearly 400 larger organizations, the 125-page document uncovers key health disparities that impact the wellbeing of women and how the UK plans to address them in the coming 10-years. Because of Wild.AI’s dedication to empowering women and overall focus on minimizing the gender health gap, this publication allowed us to explore how we fit into the UK's future in female health.
Image 1: The Department of Health and Social Care definition of women’s health across the lifespan. Items in blue represent areas that Wild.AI can help track (1).
Much of what was addressed in the document surrounded the lack of education and discomfort that accompanies menstrual events, such as periods, sex, and menopause. Despite the taboo nature of the menstrual cycle that causes many to shy away from talking about it, we at Wild.AI love talking about periods, estrogen, perimenopause, and all things female health. The educational focus of our blog and in-app Wiki is aimed at, not only providing educational support surrounding the menstrual cycle, but also pushing for the de-stigmatization of such topics.
Beyond encouraging talk about the menstrual cycle, we are constantly pushing research to include women as participants and to focus on female-specific physiology. The Health Strategy also noted the importance of this focus. The 10-year strategy plans to fund studies that focus on women, both relating to female specific-physiology, as well as in relation to general health conditions that have yet to be explored in a predominantly female cohort. Further, the strategy aims to focus on prioritizing researchers that are women whose priorities are female health. At Wild.AI, we are constantly seeking to partner with pioneering female physiologists who are dedicated to minimizing the gender health gap and furthering our understanding of female physiology (see our articles on Kim Santabarbara and Natalie Hardacker's research at AUT).
Along those lines, a focus was placed on femtech companies, such as Wild.AI, that allow for personalized advice to women. The governmental definition of femtech extended only as far as apps that focus on reproductive health; however, a central priority of their life-course plan was prioritizing healthy behaviors. At Wild.AI, we do not think that the health of a woman can be restricted to just their reproductive system. Therefore, we have combined the importance of reproductive health (i.e., menstrual cycle tracking), along with a focus on exercise, nutrition, and performance. Wild.AI can help encourage physical activity, as is an alternative focus of this strategy, while educating women on their physiology.
This 10-step female-focused strategy is the first such document to be released from the United Kingdom. We are ecstatic that a greater focus is being placed on female health and are glad to play such an imperative role in furthering societal understanding of the female athlete. We also acknowledge, however, that there is still a lot to be done with regards to female health; including expanding such governmental goals to encompass all who menstruate, not just those who identify as women.
- “Department of Health and Social Care.” GOV.UK, https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health-and-social-care. Accessed 18 Oct. 2022.
- Image from thumbnail taken from “More Women Urged to Come Forward to Shape Women’s Health Strategy.” GOV.UK, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-women-urged-to-come-forward-to-shape-womens-health-strategy. Accessed 18 Oct. 2022.