“Unique” opportunity to shape the future of women’s health

Professor Dame Lesley Regan responds to the Women's Health Vision published by the Government today

23rd Dec 2021

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The Vision for Women’s Health has been published today, setting out key Government commitments on women’s health and inequality.

To help transform the vision into a decisive strategy and action, the Government will appoint a Women’s Health Ambassador who will raise the profile of women’s health, increase awareness about taboo topics and support the government in implementing the strategy.

Almost 100,000 responses to a call for evidence revealed that many women felt they were not listened to by health professionals and were not supported well when dealing with health conditions.

Other issues to be tackled include improving support at work and better representation in research trials.

The Government says it wants to make sure women no longer face taboos when talking about their health, and have access to the services they need throughout their lives.

It recognises the system-wide changes needed to tackle some of the issues raised, to be addressed by the upcoming Women’s Health Strategy in Spring 2022.

The vision document also commits to introducing legislation to ban hymenoplasty, which is intrinsically linked to virginity testing.


Responding to the Women’s Health Vision, Professor Dame Lesley Regan, Chair of Wellbeing of Women, said:

“It is extremely encouraging, yet long overdue, that after many decades of neglect women’s health is becoming a key national priority. Women make up 51% of the population and 47% of the workforce - yet their basic health and wellbeing needs have been ignored for far too long.

“From talking to women, we know that women’s health is shrouded in taboo and stigma, with very little awareness of common symptoms and treatments, and many feel ignored or let down by healthcare services, which are not designed to meet their basic needs.

“We now have a unique opportunity to shape the future of women’s health, through improved healthcare services, better education, more research, and greater support in the workplace and beyond.

"A life course approach must be applied, from birth to the menopause, which focuses on prevention rather than treatment of illness, and tackles the shocking inequalities affecting women and girls across the country.

“The outlawing of hymenoplasty, also known as hymen repair, is an extremely welcome development, as this harmful procedure against women and girls has no place in society.

“We look forward to the Women’s Health Strategy report and welcome the opportunity to respond to this important publication in Spring 2022.”