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New report ranks countries by fairest access to women’s healthcare – and Canada is second

Women's healthcare equality in developed countries

A new report analyzing different healthcare systems within the developed world has revealed that Canada takes second place in terms of the countries offering the fairest access to treatment for women.

As part of the new Global Health Inequalities Report, the Radar Healthcare team decided to take a deep delve into patient equality when it comes to gender-specific treatments, based on the current laws and regulations in place.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was common for women to be diagnosed with “hysteria,” brushing off any real diagnosis and effectively forcing them to suffer with their conditions without adequate medical attention. While the healthcare quality for women has improved since then, there are undoubtedly more important measures to take in certain territories regarding treatment and care.

Radar Healthcare ranked the developed countries offering women the fairest access to healthcare by taking into account such factors as access to birth control and abortions, IVF treatment options, and medical tests and screenings aimed exclusively at biological females (e.g, cervical screenings and mammograms).

Top 10 developed countries for women’s healthcare equality

Country Women’s Healthcare Equality Score /105
1 United Kingdom 82
2 Canada 80.5
3 France 76
4 Luxembourg 75.5
5 Norway 73.5
6 Spain 72.5
7 Ireland 71
8 New Zealand 69.5
=9 Italy 68.5
=10 Belgium 68.5
Women's healthcare equality
Canada is in second to the UK for women’s healthcare equality in developed countries, as per recent report. Image courtesy of Radar Healthcare.

Despite offering residents cervical smear tests from the age of 21, access to legal abortions up until 23 weeks, and free birth control options to those aged 25 and under, Canada narrowly missed out on being first place to the UK in the ranking.

There are certain areas where Canada scored less favorably than other countries researched, which would have contributed to the second-place score of 80.5/105.

These include only offering those aged 43 and younger access to IVF treatment. Countries including Spain, Greece, Ireland, and Italy all offer the treatment to those wishing to become mothers up until the age of at least 50, while the healthcare systems in Singapore and Poland have no upper age limit.

A recent article explained that “fertility falls by half” when a woman reaches the age of 40, which could go some way to explaining why Canadian and also French healthcare experts stop offering IVF treatment at the age of 43. That being said, 27 of the countries analyzed have no male age limit on IVF treatment, shining somewhat of a light on inequality regarding the path to parenthood, as male fertility also begins to decline around the age of 40.

Also having somewhat of a negative impact on the Canadian score is the laws around paid maternity leave offered to brand-new mothers, which can have ramifications on one’s mental health and general well-being during such a huge life event. Despite countries like Estonia (62 weeks), Denmark (52 weeks), Norway (49 weeks), and the UK (39 weeks) offering substantial lengths of paid maternity leave, the legal Canadian offering of just 15 weeks fell a little short in comparison.

The full women’s health report can be found here.

15 thoughts on “New report ranks countries by fairest access to women’s healthcare – and Canada is second”

  1. Hi Christy–Thank you for sharing the ranking of women’s health care. It’s must be reassuring that Canada is ranked 2nd. Unfortunately, the United States has taken a step backwards with the overthrow of Roe vs. Wade. In some states with restrictive abortion laws, women can’t get life-saving treatment (abortion) until they are on the cusp of death from complications. We have a relatively high maternal mortality ratios in the U.S. as compared with other countries, and disparities between Black and white women, which are not improving.

  2. Thanks for this most informative post Christy. Canada always had great healthcare – that was until Covid came round, and I think it’s going to take a few years to get back on track. Merry Christmas my Lovely. :) <3 xx

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