The gap in our internet searches
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“If you ask any woman in America about her health care, she probably has a story to tell” — Dr. Jill Biden
Back in 2020, we originally started Diem as a place to start and discover women’s health conversations, especially online. We’ve since evolved Diem to cover many other topics (like friendship, work, sex, relationships, money, etc.), but women’s health conversations remain a huge topic in our community. As Dr. Jill Biden stated last week, as part of the White House’s new initiative to address the gap in healthcare research for women, we all have a healthcare story.
Just the other day, I saw this question pop up in Diem:
While I’m thrilled that the research gap in women’s health is finally getting the attention it deserves at the highest levels, there’s still so much that needs to be done in the near term. In a press conference for the new White House initiative, former First Lady of California Maria Shriver emphasized the importance of addressing just “how sick women are in this country,” citing the fact that women represent two-thirds of all Alzheimer’s cases, two-thirds of all multiple sclerosis cases, 80 percent of all autoimmune disease cases, and experience anxiety and depression at twice the rate of men.
Every day, I experience how the gender research gap gets reflected in the digital sphere. When we don’t have the answer to basic healthcare questions due to lagging research, the best stopgap solution has been the internet, where strangers tend to share their lived experiences. Some data for you: 70% of Google searches that start with “Is it normal…” pertain to women’s health. For context, that’s billions of searches. If the search bar provides any insight into the human psyche, which I believe it does, the gender research gap has made women feel abnormal.
Every day in the Diem community, I see women searching for validation. Some of the best recent searches I’ve seen:
And the beautiful thing is—other women answer their questions, in droves. Answers are crowdsourced, debated, and shared widely because that’s what women have always done. The internet is just as ‘default male’ as healthcare, and we desperately need better answers online.
Diem’s been open to the public for about six months now and we have some really cool insights on how our community is searching for information online. We’ll be releasing a report with those findings early next year, but we’d love your (anonymous) input in the meantime. Just fill out this survey, here.
Otherwise, see you in Diem to fill in the above gaps?
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