Plenty of Ireland’s marginalized women today still experience the unavailability of services, dismissive attitudes, and the shortage of consistent support from healthcare providers.
A report made by the National Women’s Council is drawing the Government’s attention to provide the much-needed reform. This is in line with the upcoming “Women’s Health Action Plan” that is geared to assure marginalized women receive adequate, timely, and speedy healthcare support and services.
While some women verbalized their positive thoughts regarding the “Improving the Healthcare Outcomes and Experiences of the Healthcare System for Marginalized Women,” many still felt that more improvements were needed.
In this light, in eight weeks, various programs such as workshops have been implemented and attended by women of minority ethnicity, women with disabilities, women living in socially and economically disadvantaged communities, and survivors of abuse. These programs were opened to anyone who identifies as a woman as long as they are over 18 years old and have personal experiences of the themes.
One common theme women with disabilities face the feeling of being unheard and not being taken seriously. In this case, participants shared several times that their experiences were dismissed. This only shows how some medical professionals exhibited a lack of empathy regarding the issue at bar.
One example is that one woman went for a cervical screening because she had not been tested for over 11 years. She stated that when she went in for her smear test in the year 2011, she got a big production of response going, “why do you need it if you are not sexually active?”
While another woman experienced a shift in the messaging when she entered older age.
“It’s like I have been put in another category without my permission. Now I feel like I am being prepared for dying as opposed to living.”
Another woman shared that some social and healthcare practitioners are taken aback by the youth for some young disabled women, and this creates a barrier where interaction and support are not adequately addressed.
At the workshop held for socio-economically disadvantaged communities, some identified as teenage parents, single parents, and others as part of the Traveler community.
An apparent common theme was the lack of support from the healthcare system towards children who have additional needs.
“You are literally just told something is wrong with your child; go figure it out yourself. You are thrown in a dark alley, and you have to fight your way out if you find a torch fair play to you, but if you don’t, you are going in blind,” shared by some women during the workshop.
These women exclaimed that accessing healthcare for children with special needs was their responsibility.