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The Pain Gap: How Sexism and Racism in Healthcare Kill Women

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Explore real women’s tales of healthcare trauma and medical misogyny with this meticulously researched, in-depth examination of the women’s health crisis in America—and what we can do about it. When Anushay Hossain became pregnant in the US, she was so relieved. Growing up in Bangladesh in the 1980s, where the concept of women’s healthcare hardly existed, she understood how Explore real women’s tales of healthcare trauma and medical misogyny with this meticulously researched, in-depth examination of the women’s health crisis in America—and what we can do about it. When Anushay Hossain became pregnant in the US, she was so relieved. Growing up in Bangladesh in the 1980s, where the concept of women’s healthcare hardly existed, she understood how lucky she was to access the best in the world. But she couldn’t have been more wrong. Things started to go awry from the minute she stepped in the hospital, and after thirty hours of labor (two of which she spent pushing), Hossain’s epidural slipped. Her pain was so severe that she ran a fever of 104 degrees, and as she shook and trembled uncontrollably, the doctors finally performed an emergency C-section. Giving birth in the richest country on earth, Hossain never imagined she could die in labor. But she almost did. The experience put her on a journey to explore, understand, and share how women—especially women of color—are dismissed to death by systemic sexism in American healthcare. Following in the footsteps of feminist manifestos such as The Feminine Mystique and Rage Becomes Her, The Pain Gap is an eye-opening and stirring call to arms that encourages women to flip their “hysteria complex” on its head and use it to revolutionize women’s healthcare. This book tells the story of Hossain’s experiences—from growing up in South Asia surrounded by staggering maternal mortality rates to lobbying for global health legislation on Capitol Hill to nearly becoming a statistic herself. Along the way, she realized that a little fury might be just what the doctor ordered. Meticulously researched and deeply reported, this book explores real women’s traumatic experiences with America’s healthcare system—and empowers everyone to use their experiences to bring about the healthcare revolution women need.


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Explore real women’s tales of healthcare trauma and medical misogyny with this meticulously researched, in-depth examination of the women’s health crisis in America—and what we can do about it. When Anushay Hossain became pregnant in the US, she was so relieved. Growing up in Bangladesh in the 1980s, where the concept of women’s healthcare hardly existed, she understood how Explore real women’s tales of healthcare trauma and medical misogyny with this meticulously researched, in-depth examination of the women’s health crisis in America—and what we can do about it. When Anushay Hossain became pregnant in the US, she was so relieved. Growing up in Bangladesh in the 1980s, where the concept of women’s healthcare hardly existed, she understood how lucky she was to access the best in the world. But she couldn’t have been more wrong. Things started to go awry from the minute she stepped in the hospital, and after thirty hours of labor (two of which she spent pushing), Hossain’s epidural slipped. Her pain was so severe that she ran a fever of 104 degrees, and as she shook and trembled uncontrollably, the doctors finally performed an emergency C-section. Giving birth in the richest country on earth, Hossain never imagined she could die in labor. But she almost did. The experience put her on a journey to explore, understand, and share how women—especially women of color—are dismissed to death by systemic sexism in American healthcare. Following in the footsteps of feminist manifestos such as The Feminine Mystique and Rage Becomes Her, The Pain Gap is an eye-opening and stirring call to arms that encourages women to flip their “hysteria complex” on its head and use it to revolutionize women’s healthcare. This book tells the story of Hossain’s experiences—from growing up in South Asia surrounded by staggering maternal mortality rates to lobbying for global health legislation on Capitol Hill to nearly becoming a statistic herself. Along the way, she realized that a little fury might be just what the doctor ordered. Meticulously researched and deeply reported, this book explores real women’s traumatic experiences with America’s healthcare system—and empowers everyone to use their experiences to bring about the healthcare revolution women need.

30 review for The Pain Gap: How Sexism and Racism in Healthcare Kill Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lisa of Troy

    Interesting read but the description is completely misleading. The Pain Gap by Anushay Hossain covers a wide range of traditional women's rights issues: abortion, childbirth, paid leave, women and pregnant women being excluded during vaccine testing, domestic violence, and unfair child rearing responsibilities. Pros: *Contains some interesting stories from women in their medical journey *Touches on a multitude of hot topics in the realm of women’s rights Cons: *The target audience is not clear. The au Interesting read but the description is completely misleading. The Pain Gap by Anushay Hossain covers a wide range of traditional women's rights issues: abortion, childbirth, paid leave, women and pregnant women being excluded during vaccine testing, domestic violence, and unfair child rearing responsibilities. Pros: *Contains some interesting stories from women in their medical journey *Touches on a multitude of hot topics in the realm of women’s rights Cons: *The target audience is not clear. The author spent a great deal of time discussing proposed policy issues and introducing a large number of organizations. This information was extremely boring. Women struggling with a health condition need help now, not wait for some policy which may or may not go into effect. *The author spent considerable time on the issue of mental health and cited how women and WOC have such a high rate of depression. However, these statistics are greatly exaggerated because doctors overprescribe antidepressants. If a woman walks in with a difficult health problem, it is extremely easy to label her as “crazy” and write a script for an antidepressant. *This book was billed as “The Pain Gap: How Sexism and Racism in Healthcare Kill Women.” However, most of the book did not cover this issue. Instead, it was a feminist manifesto (which I have absolutely no problem with) but it wasn’t as good as the book, White Feminism by Koa Beck. Being through the health system this last year, I actually have put together my own list of tips that I will include at the very end of this review because the sick and dying can’t wait. Overall, the author and I share many of the same ideologies; however, the book would have been better if the author had focused more on sharing the stories of women in their healthcare journey instead of a broad issue book covering nearly every women’s issue. *Thanks, NetGalley, for a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest opinion. Tips For Your Healthcare Journey: 1) If you can afford it, hire a Private Patient Advocate. These are some of the things that my advocate has done for me: a. Finds and schedules high quality doctors who are professional, respectful, and won’t stop until they find out what is going on. b. Moves me up off the waitlists. Who can wait 2 years to see a doctor? c. Reviews my medical records and prepares me for what to expect for my appointments. d. She can get on the phone with my doctors and ask medical questions and let them know that they need a better plan and question if they have considered all alternatives. 2) You have to be your own doctor. Read as many health articles as you can. Stand your ground. Many, many doctors simply don’t care about your pain or how difficult your life is. However, if you quote medical articles to them, it is extremely difficult for them to brush you off as crazy. a. Talk to other people on Reddit (ask questions and find support). Find out who the good doctors are and who to avoid like the plague. 3) If your doctor says that you are depressed or have a “Functional Neurological Disorder”, question that diagnosis. 4) Never give up on yourself. If you aren’t getting answers that make sense or you have a poor quality of life, see someone else (another doctor, nurse, physical therapist, acupuncturist). 5) Really inform yourself about labor if you are expecting because you can’t rely on the doctors being honest or explaining all of your choices. If you go to a large OB practice, there will be no continuity of care because you will see a new doctor at every appointment. Some of these doctors will literally schedule you for a 5-minute appointment. When you go into labor, you might end up with a doctor who you have never met before, and the doctor will only appear once the baby is crowning. At least with a midwife, they will take you through your entire labor, and you can be assigned to one person instead of being passed around like a hot potato to so many different doctors.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    The Pain Gap illustrates the gap in medical care women in America, and more so women of color in America, face. It uses statistics and anecdotes from women who have experience poor medical care, particularly maternity care. It's a difficult read that tries to find balance between honestly illustrated the problem, without leaving the reader feeling hopeless. Hossain does a good job of balancing what individual women can do to advocate for themselves, while also acknowledging that systemic problem The Pain Gap illustrates the gap in medical care women in America, and more so women of color in America, face. It uses statistics and anecdotes from women who have experience poor medical care, particularly maternity care. It's a difficult read that tries to find balance between honestly illustrated the problem, without leaving the reader feeling hopeless. Hossain does a good job of balancing what individual women can do to advocate for themselves, while also acknowledging that systemic problems like the bias in maternal healthcare can't be fixed just by individuals advocating for themselves, but by systemic change.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sahitya

    This was another audiobook I picked at random while browsing my library catalog but it instantly felt like it was something I’ll like reading. And it was an interesting mix. I absolutely loved reading the personal stories - both of the author and her mom back in Bangladesh and the conditions of healthcare, especially for women. I felt very sympathetic to the situation because until a few decades ago, it was pretty much the same in India as well. But it was the chapters about how racism and misog This was another audiobook I picked at random while browsing my library catalog but it instantly felt like it was something I’ll like reading. And it was an interesting mix. I absolutely loved reading the personal stories - both of the author and her mom back in Bangladesh and the conditions of healthcare, especially for women. I felt very sympathetic to the situation because until a few decades ago, it was pretty much the same in India as well. But it was the chapters about how racism and misogyny drastically affects the health outcomes for women of color in America that hit me hard. Just like the author, I never expected that this was the reality in the richest country in the world, and though I’ve personally not experienced anything of such sort, it’s hard to digest that many women suffer so much just to get the right diagnosis or medication. I’ve read numerous horror stories from women on Twitter and this book reinforced the same. And I absolutely detested the chapter about the global gag rule and how US govt uses its monetary aid as a tool to impose its religious hegemony over the poor and destitute countries in the world, negatively impacting the thousands and millions of women who actually need that aid. I didn’t realize that this book would include issues that women of color have faced during this pandemic. I guess I just didn’t see when it released. These were some heartbreaking stories. But many of the chapters then talk about the policy issues on a more broader level and it felt like a disconnect from the other half of the book which was about women’s stories. While I appreciate everything the author talks about policy changes that need to be made at the federal and state level to better the health outcomes of women of color, I also felt that it missed the point which the personal experiences in the book were making - any amount of policy changes can’t change the bias and prejudice and discrimination that exists in medicine and it’s practitioners because racism and misogyny is so entrenched in the system. It needs both a change at the education level to remove bias from the teachings at medical school, as well as a personal reckoning for all the doctors and other medical staff with their own prejudices. And the women advocating for their own health can definitely use some pointers in how to do it in a way that they are heard by the doctors and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. Overall, this was an informative but difficult read and I learnt quite a bit which I didn’t know. But I also thought it was a bit too broad for it’s short length and couldn’t cover everything it needed to in a succinct manner. However, I would still suggest you check it out if it’s a topic that interests you.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    If this doesn’t make you furious… I’m not sure what will. It’s time to stand up for what’s right! The Pain Gap solidified I’m not alone, by exploring how sexism & racism in healthcare endanger and kill women, especially women of color, in America. 🙅🏻‍♀️I’m aware of this disparity. Many of us are. I’ve suffered from it tremendously. Friends of mine have too. But after reading this book, and the stories of SO MANY other women, the lack of adequate research and the vast absence of empathy in the Amer If this doesn’t make you furious… I’m not sure what will. It’s time to stand up for what’s right! The Pain Gap solidified I’m not alone, by exploring how sexism & racism in healthcare endanger and kill women, especially women of color, in America. 🙅🏻‍♀️I’m aware of this disparity. Many of us are. I’ve suffered from it tremendously. Friends of mine have too. But after reading this book, and the stories of SO MANY other women, the lack of adequate research and the vast absence of empathy in the American health system I’m not mad, I’m furious. I’m screaming mad. Crying hysterically mad… and if you’re a woman, or love a woman, you should be too. 🙅🏻‍♀️This book has content warnings galore. Racism. Sexism. Death. Maternal mortality. Medical trauma. Misogyny. But how could it not? If a nonfiction book is going to even dip a toe into the healthcare industry it wouldn’t be possible not to. Which is why this book is so important to read. Knowledge is power. We must arm ourselves with knowledge in order to stand up for ourselves and advocate for our health… and the heath of all women. 🙅🏻‍♀️Think I’m over exaggerating? Did you know in 1986 a study was conducted on a group of MEN to explore how obesity impacts breast and uterine cancer? For those in the back, men don’t have a uterus. Hossain has done a fantastic job compiling a ton of information, both through research and anecdotal to tear down the veil and expose the disparities in our health system. She then discusses how to advocate for ourselves, loved ones, and for a real change in the medical industry itself. I do feel there could be a bit of an edit, some chapters do carry on a bit, and for the average reader a cleaner more precise focus would be more effective… but overall this was still a fantastic read that I recommend everyone to add to their TBR. Thank you @anushayhossain @netgalley & @tillerpress for the eARC in exchange for my fair and honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    This book starts off pretty strong and unfortunately devolves. I think one of the issues with this book is that it’s marketed incorrectly. The majority of this book is centered on the COVID-19 pandemic, and feels almost TOO current. While the information in this book is definitely worth acknowledging and reading about, there are sections that seem like they may be irrelevant when the pandemic is over (if it ever truly ends). Much of the information in this book is very necessary and needs to be This book starts off pretty strong and unfortunately devolves. I think one of the issues with this book is that it’s marketed incorrectly. The majority of this book is centered on the COVID-19 pandemic, and feels almost TOO current. While the information in this book is definitely worth acknowledging and reading about, there are sections that seem like they may be irrelevant when the pandemic is over (if it ever truly ends). Much of the information in this book is very necessary and needs to be talked about, especially the stories about specific women’s experiences. My biggest complaint, however, is that this book comes across as very disorganized and jumbled, as well as having a lot of repeated information/anecdotes. The author constantly is referring back to her pregnancy experience, but never really adding to the original story she began with, just repeating the same story. There are other examples of repeating the same/similar anecdotes or information that comes across as being filler, rather than adding to the book. Good idea, not the greatest execution, inaccurate marketing.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    It’s the ultimate SMDH book. Except it’s SMHS, shake my head sadly. Heartbreaking stories that are all too familiar, at least from a chronic pain patient perspective. The worst, “You should have said something!” she scolded. Or “…well, it turns out I have a really high threshold for pain,“ yup. Docs are impressed how well I take huge steroid shots into tender spots. Imagine how much pain I deal with every day when that seems pretty negligible. This was Padma Lakshmi about endometriosis. I related It’s the ultimate SMDH book. Except it’s SMHS, shake my head sadly. Heartbreaking stories that are all too familiar, at least from a chronic pain patient perspective. The worst, “You should have said something!” she scolded. Or “…well, it turns out I have a really high threshold for pain,“ yup. Docs are impressed how well I take huge steroid shots into tender spots. Imagine how much pain I deal with every day when that seems pretty negligible. This was Padma Lakshmi about endometriosis. I related to this a LOT. I hate lupus. When she asked for an epidural she had to prove she was in enough pain first. How do you prove you’re in enough pain? Several people reported doctors making them do this. I wonder if any of those doctors were people who’d given birth? “Women should act more, not less, “hysterical“ when it comes to our well-being, and that begins by telling our stories loudly.“ She reported that even though 70% of chronic pain patients are women, but 80% of pain studies continue to be on men or male mice.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    i learned a lot about midwifery, reproductive justice, and how america prevents abortion access and reproductive care abroad. i was surprised that the book is so contemporary and discusses the pandemics affect on pregnant people and working women.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Smileitsjoy (JoyMelody)

    I enjoyed this book. I think Hossain does a very good job of covering topics that can be super complicated in a simple and easy to digest. My only issue is that she kind of dropped the ball and lacked the analysis when she addressed the Black Lives Matter and George Floyd. The flat analysis is what made me give this book four stars. I still think this is a good book for someone who has no prior knowledge of these topics, this book is perfect.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Rohbock

    4.5⭐ Content warnings: Pregnancy, maternal mortality, racism, death, Covid, medical trauma Remember when the J&J vaccine was paused in the US because 6 in 6,000,000 women vaccinated experienced blood clots? As a white American woman, I am more likely to die in childbirth than to experience vaccine-related complications and that's honestly wild given that our health care systems is one of the best in the world. Anushay Hossain dives into the reasons why women are not believed for the medical pain th 4.5⭐ Content warnings: Pregnancy, maternal mortality, racism, death, Covid, medical trauma Remember when the J&J vaccine was paused in the US because 6 in 6,000,000 women vaccinated experienced blood clots? As a white American woman, I am more likely to die in childbirth than to experience vaccine-related complications and that's honestly wild given that our health care systems is one of the best in the world. Anushay Hossain dives into the reasons why women are not believed for the medical pain they experience and how this directly correlates with the maternal mortality rate. She goes beyond the important statistics to share stories of the people who make up those numbers. I learned: +The root of the word "hysteria" is the Greek word for uterus so women are termed as hysteric because of our anatomy 🙄 +Due to hormonal cycles screwing with research trial data, women were largely excluded from medical research trials and it wasnt until 2016(!!!) that the NIH recognized this bias and mandated that studies receiving research grant money must include women +Because many research trials do not include women, it makes doctors less likely to diagnose women with medical issues because women can (and often do) experience different symptoms than men for the same medical issue +Doulas are extremely important for women especially women of color because their advocacy for women during birth results in better recognition of medical issues occuring during or after birth +Women of color have much higher maternal mortality rates because they are even less listened to by their doctors and nurses so midwife and birth centers prioritize mothers of color to help ensure they receive the advocacy they need +Covid made so many of these issues even worse as less people were allowed to attend doctors appointments or be in birthing rooms resulting in less advocacy for women, particularly women of color I read the ARC of this book and I do hope this book continues to be edited. There were several long chapters where it felt like the focus of the book became lost. I loved the focus of race in this book but wish there had been more trans representation or other minority issues. Even so, I think this book is incredibly important for all women and men to read, especially anyone who plans to have kids and especially for people of color and their allies. There are so many challenges that surround the care we give to expecting and new mothers in this country that many aren't exposed to until having children. This book taught me so much and I plan to continue learning and thinking about how I can use this book to make change.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Holloway Jones

    This book thoroughly covers an extremely relevant subject matter in our current political climate in the US. I found this book to be well written and extremely well researched. I felt that I learned a lot about the background of this issue and how it affects different racial groups. I have lived through a lot of the issues as a woman in America and was extremely interested in learning more about what it is like to be a woman of color. I think this is a must read for all people. I was particularl This book thoroughly covers an extremely relevant subject matter in our current political climate in the US. I found this book to be well written and extremely well researched. I felt that I learned a lot about the background of this issue and how it affects different racial groups. I have lived through a lot of the issues as a woman in America and was extremely interested in learning more about what it is like to be a woman of color. I think this is a must read for all people. I was particularly intrigued about the information about home births and how these were abolished and why they are widely re-emerging into our country as an option.. Thanks for the ARC, NetGalley. I found this read to be eye-opening and very current.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Mac

    Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC of this book. I enjoyed reading this book and I learned a lot about the experience of women of colour in the healthcare system. It was also interesting and timely to read a book that discussed healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, some of the chapters felt like they were lacking in a thesis and felt somewhat rambling. Overall I recommend this book to readers who want to learn more about women’s experiences in healthcare, particularly women of Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC of this book. I enjoyed reading this book and I learned a lot about the experience of women of colour in the healthcare system. It was also interesting and timely to read a book that discussed healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. That being said, some of the chapters felt like they were lacking in a thesis and felt somewhat rambling. Overall I recommend this book to readers who want to learn more about women’s experiences in healthcare, particularly women of colour.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I debated whether or not I wanted to read this now because, to be frank, it seemed like it would be a bit of a downer. Is that the note I wanted to end 2021 on? I decided, yes, why the hell not? And, well, the book was just as distressing as I imagined. Even though the subject was one I was already familiar with, and I’ve experienced first-hand the ways medical professionals dismiss the pain of women, reading the individual stories of women neglected and harmed by our inadequate healthcare syste I debated whether or not I wanted to read this now because, to be frank, it seemed like it would be a bit of a downer. Is that the note I wanted to end 2021 on? I decided, yes, why the hell not? And, well, the book was just as distressing as I imagined. Even though the subject was one I was already familiar with, and I’ve experienced first-hand the ways medical professionals dismiss the pain of women, reading the individual stories of women neglected and harmed by our inadequate healthcare system was nonetheless hard to handle. While this was an interesting read, I felt that the title was a bit misleading, as the focus seemed to be primarily pregnant women and mothers, even though the healthcare system also regularly fails women who don’t fall into either of those categories. (I would also like to point out that women are not the only ones who can become pregnant and that the medical community continues to fail these folks as well, something that is essentially glossed over within this book.) Though Hossain briefly covers topics such as chronic pain conditions, abortion and access to birth control, and the shocking ways women have historically been left out of clinical drug trials and other medical studies, the vast majority of the book centers pregnancy and motherhood and the appallingly high maternal mortality rate in the United States. The author also spends a lot of time highlighting the many societal failings the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated, including domestic violence rates and the inequity in the division of household labor and childcare. While these issues definitely relate to women’s health, perhaps they should take up less space in a book purporting to be about healthcare. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on the perils of childbirth, or focusing on how the pandemic has emphasized and exacerbated gender inequalities that existed pre-covid. I was fascinated to learn about how racist policies initially contributed to the shift in popularity from home births to hospital births in the early 20th century, and how the failures of hospitals in the present day has led to an uptick in the popularity of home births once again. But neither of these subjects feel like they align with what the title and subtitle of the book promised. Overall, even though I appreciate how meticulously this book was researched, I recognize how important the topics are, and I did come away feeling more informed, it felt as though the author attempted to cover too much.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I'm giving this one the benefit of the doubt since the title is very misleading. With a better title I give it 4 stars. I really liked the information presented here and the personal stories coupled with statistics. However, it is less about pain assessment and more about women's health in general. It also HEAVILY focuses on motherhood and childbirth without really acknowledging that this is not a universal female experience. In fact at one point she actually claims that motherhood is a universa I'm giving this one the benefit of the doubt since the title is very misleading. With a better title I give it 4 stars. I really liked the information presented here and the personal stories coupled with statistics. However, it is less about pain assessment and more about women's health in general. It also HEAVILY focuses on motherhood and childbirth without really acknowledging that this is not a universal female experience. In fact at one point she actually claims that motherhood is a universal female experience. As someone who not only is in a relationship with another woman, but who also does not have and will never have kids, this turned out to be less applicable to my own life and more of an informational session about what it is like for other women. At one point she explains that the birth rate is dropping, implying that this is a bad thing, but personally I feel like our planet is overcrowded and the world is in no shape for more babies. Many people are choosing not to have children because of societal and financial issues, and she fails to acknowledge this at all. I appreciated that this book is current and includes a chapter on Covid, however once again this didn't seem to fit with the topic of the book. The author claims that women's labor needs to be paid, and schools need to be open, but she fails to give any explanation on how we can do that while keeping kids and teachers (many of whom are also women) safe from Covid. Another area that missed the mark was the section on women in hetero relationships quitting their jobs to be stay at home moms while their husbands continued working. She gave a lot of statistics but didn't go any deeper into WHY this is happening. She just stated it as fact the women were making this change and men weren't stepping up to parent. There are a lot of social and personal reasons why couples would do this, but it doesn't have to be the case and she just assumed that it did. Basically what I'm saying is that women who silently allow this change to take place without talking to their partner are just as culpable as their husband who does the same. She says that she basically had to give her husband a divorce ultimatum in order to change their parenting load, and I'm just like, DANG you guys haven't even talked about this together at all before now??? THAT ISN'T NORMAL. And if it is the norm for MF couples, IT SHOULDN'T BE. But beyond all that I would have liked her to talk about more WHY women were making this choice. Is it because more women than men have a flexible job? Is it because men feel more societal pressure to be bread winners and have a more stable job? Is it because women tend to not have a job with growth opportunities because they plan to quit to have babies at some point? Let's explore this further please. Another similar weak area was her claim that the treatment of mothers is indicative of women's health overall- which she backed up with no stats or evidence. As a woman who will never be a mother, this actually applies to me and I would have liked to see her explore more about how this affects all women. Could have been a whole additional chapter to explain this point! I'm rating this book highly because while it did have faults, I think the main thesis is important and should be talked about. Health in America is horrible, and women's health even more so. I hope this encourages people to speak up and gets this information out to the public.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rebekah

    3.5 stars I'm rounding up to 4 stars because the stories of women's medical trauma are so important and need constant amplification. However, this book is marketed in a completely misleading way: it appears to be primarily about the perils of childbirth in the United States and about medical trauma in relation to birthing, but the majority of the book is really about covid. While that's an equally important topic, I didn't expect to read so much about women's health in covid when I was led to bel 3.5 stars I'm rounding up to 4 stars because the stories of women's medical trauma are so important and need constant amplification. However, this book is marketed in a completely misleading way: it appears to be primarily about the perils of childbirth in the United States and about medical trauma in relation to birthing, but the majority of the book is really about covid. While that's an equally important topic, I didn't expect to read so much about women's health in covid when I was led to believe this was about women dying unnecessarily in childbirth. I also felt like Hossain's opening remarks about how American women should weaponize their hysteria to push for better and more equitable healthcare was not really given enough time on the page for her to explain her ideas. It felt like an afterthought even though she presented it as something the whole book would discuss. Still an important read, especially as we continue to live with covid, but really misleading blurbs.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sam S

    3.5 stars Overall, I did enjoy this book, but I think the subtitle describes the content better than the main title. There is a lot of focus on specifically obgyn/maternity health care. Some on women and general health care and emergency health care. There was also quite a bit on the covid 19 pandemic and the general effects that has had in women, their careers, division of labour etc, which while interesting and informative, was not what I was expecting in this book. It did get looped back aroun 3.5 stars Overall, I did enjoy this book, but I think the subtitle describes the content better than the main title. There is a lot of focus on specifically obgyn/maternity health care. Some on women and general health care and emergency health care. There was also quite a bit on the covid 19 pandemic and the general effects that has had in women, their careers, division of labour etc, which while interesting and informative, was not what I was expecting in this book. It did get looped back around into pandemic lockdowns, domestic violence against women, and these vulnerable women seeking treatment. I think it works have benefited splitting up the medical treatment and pandemic topics into 2 separate books, because both are interesting and important topics.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kris - My Novelesque Life

    RATING: 3 STARS 2022; Tiller Press I love the message of this book, and agree with all that it has to say about racism and sexism in medical spheres, but I just couldn't get into the writing. I understand that Hossain is injecting herself and her story into the book to create some connection with the reader (and maybe to show her own personal examples, and how she came to notice this in the first place). At times, it read like a biography and other times like an article, essays strung together, so RATING: 3 STARS 2022; Tiller Press I love the message of this book, and agree with all that it has to say about racism and sexism in medical spheres, but I just couldn't get into the writing. I understand that Hossain is injecting herself and her story into the book to create some connection with the reader (and maybe to show her own personal examples, and how she came to notice this in the first place). At times, it read like a biography and other times like an article, essays strung together, so I kind of lost focus with it. I am glad I read it as I can now look for more literature and resources out there. I think it is important to get this information out so it can be eradicated. ***I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.***

  18. 4 out of 5

    Quinn Spencer

    Very surface level , ultimately not what I was looking for. Wondering who the intended audience would be for this as those interested in the topic likely have the background knowledge and those who may not be informed wouldn’t gravitate towards this. However, don’t want to fault the author for drawing light to issues that still face the medical system, particularly related to pregnancy and birth

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    This book convinces me that we need to burn a lot of institutions down and just start over.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Nagle

    absolutely fascinating. well researched, current, well written, audiobook was well narrated and had me from beginning to end.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cozy Cat Reviews

    Every woman and WOC must read this book ! This is meticulous research and documentation of the mysogany and disparity of women's health care. I have experienced this myself on a ongoing basis as a woman and I began to research the subject and was shocked at the findings. As a woman I have experience physical abuse from doctors, malpractice, verbal abuse and egregious episodes of mysogany and dismissal of symptoms. It does not matter what age you are if your are a woman you will experience this i Every woman and WOC must read this book ! This is meticulous research and documentation of the mysogany and disparity of women's health care. I have experienced this myself on a ongoing basis as a woman and I began to research the subject and was shocked at the findings. As a woman I have experience physical abuse from doctors, malpractice, verbal abuse and egregious episodes of mysogany and dismissal of symptoms. It does not matter what age you are if your are a woman you will experience this in your lifetime. As a woman I have had to fight through the health care system for proper care and I can attest this book is a necessary and valuable read for all women and especially women of color. The research and personal experiences are in depth and told honestly . The episodes of mysogany documented here that dismiss and fail the authors health are shocking and I have experienced this behavior myself. I highly recommend all women read this book and educate yourself because at some point in your life your health concerns will not be addressed and dismissed because your a woman. Read this and learn how to deal with racist, out of control sexism in western medicine . Its true, its real and its happening to millions of women across the US as simple health problems that become life threatening are dismissed and ridiculed. Women across the country are dying of endometriosis as they are dismissed as "hysterical". One common theme of male doctors is to refuse to treat women and instead write us off as "needing mental help". Daily the cases increase of malpractice and refusal to treat simple health problems Read this book and educate yourself. This is a important body of work that I highly recommend and found very valuable to my own health.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shana

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review*** This is a 3.5 rounded up to a 4 for me, but mostly because this is a subject I've read about a lot and so much of the book was a repeat for me. That said, the way Anushay Hossain presents it is her own and I appreciate the perspective she brings as someone raised in Bangladesh and now lives in the US. It is true that there is an expectation that our healthcare would be far superior, and yet it still fails far too many women a ***Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review*** This is a 3.5 rounded up to a 4 for me, but mostly because this is a subject I've read about a lot and so much of the book was a repeat for me. That said, the way Anushay Hossain presents it is her own and I appreciate the perspective she brings as someone raised in Bangladesh and now lives in the US. It is true that there is an expectation that our healthcare would be far superior, and yet it still fails far too many women and for many reasons. Others have written about this extensively, but Hossain was able to include a look into our current pandemic, which will no doubt set her book apart. This is a great read for those in the earlier stages of learning about our healthcare system and a painful reminder to those who have experienced sexism and/or racism while seeking care for themselves.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    While I completely agree with the thesis of this book, I thought most of the evidence the author used was circumstantial or not complete. Hossain would often make a bold claim, but the material to support it would didn't exactly fit her claim and there was not enough analysis given to bridge that connection. However, if any part of this book encourages medical professionals to improve medical care for women and BIPOC people, it should be considered a great success. While I completely agree with the thesis of this book, I thought most of the evidence the author used was circumstantial or not complete. Hossain would often make a bold claim, but the material to support it would didn't exactly fit her claim and there was not enough analysis given to bridge that connection. However, if any part of this book encourages medical professionals to improve medical care for women and BIPOC people, it should be considered a great success.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chris Boutté

    Anushay was kind enough to send me an early copy of this book, and it’s fantastic. Women’s healthcare is such a serious issue, and it doesn’t get nearly enough attention. I’ve seen it discussed in passing in a few books, but Hossain made it the entire focus of a book, and it was fantastic. The book has a great perspective because Anushay is from Bangladesh and is not only able to compare healthcare between countries based on personal experience, but she even had a scary experience with her own p Anushay was kind enough to send me an early copy of this book, and it’s fantastic. Women’s healthcare is such a serious issue, and it doesn’t get nearly enough attention. I’ve seen it discussed in passing in a few books, but Hossain made it the entire focus of a book, and it was fantastic. The book has a great perspective because Anushay is from Bangladesh and is not only able to compare healthcare between countries based on personal experience, but she even had a scary experience with her own pregnancy. This gives a much-needed insight to the issue, and you can tell how passionate she is about this topic. The book discusses how sexism, inproper training, and biases in healthcare can be deadly for women. Not only does Anushay provide research and statistics, but she spoke with many women who share their personal stories. The book dives into how medical professionals don’t believe women, do procedures without explaining the long-term consequences, and how the mother’s life is valued less than the unborn child in some cases. This book also goes into all of the additional ways women of color suffer from these issues in much more severe ways. One of the most real things Anushay says a few times in this book is, “If these issues are affecting white women, you can guarantee that women of color are suffering even more.” This is a book that literally everyone needs to read. Whether you’re a man or a woman, a mother or a father, a healthcare professional, or anyone who cares about the health of women, this is a very important book. I learned a ton from this book, and it’s great because it has realistic solutions as well as ways for women to advocate for themselves.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    This book isn't especially bad or anything, it's just not what I expected and I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped. Disclaimer: I am interested in this topic, how women receive lesser health care than men and how people of color receive lesser health care than white people. I wrote a paper about how this applies to COVID-19 in October and am finishing up a project about it right now. My biggest issue with this book, which is, admittedly, a personal issue, is that it mostly used anecdotal evide This book isn't especially bad or anything, it's just not what I expected and I didn't enjoy it as much as I'd hoped. Disclaimer: I am interested in this topic, how women receive lesser health care than men and how people of color receive lesser health care than white people. I wrote a paper about how this applies to COVID-19 in October and am finishing up a project about it right now. My biggest issue with this book, which is, admittedly, a personal issue, is that it mostly used anecdotal evidence over statistics and research. Often, even when it did use statistics, the author didn't say where they were from (this was included in a footnote, just not for my personal taste) and neglected to reflect on them. I think that because of my interest in this topic I had much larger hopes and dreams for it than became a reality. This book is not about women's healthcare in general, nor is it about maternal mortality. Really, it's about COVID-19. Which is fine, it was just marketed poorly. Also, the author often randomly interjects with information about her personal experience, but we never get a full picture of it. Overall, this just feels like it rides the line between being a memoir and being nonfiction in a bad way, like it doesn't know what it's supposed to be.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Seaman

    When Anushay Hossain got pregnant in the US, she never thought her life would be in danger. However, after almost losing her life and the life of her child, Hossain is confronted with the reality of healthcare in the US. This book confronts the problems that people with uteruses, especially people of color, have when needing healthcare. I really liked the premise of this book. I think the execution, however, was a little lacking. I was a little bothered by the lack of inclusive language. The dis When Anushay Hossain got pregnant in the US, she never thought her life would be in danger. However, after almost losing her life and the life of her child, Hossain is confronted with the reality of healthcare in the US. This book confronts the problems that people with uteruses, especially people of color, have when needing healthcare. I really liked the premise of this book. I think the execution, however, was a little lacking. I was a little bothered by the lack of inclusive language. The discrimination that people with uteruses does not just happen to people who identify as women. I also felt this was a little too statistics-heavy without enough analysis. I felt like I was just getting numbers shoved at me. Overall, this was an interesting read. *eARC provided in exchange for an honest review*

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    This book shines when relaying women’s narratives and personal accounts of medical experiences. However, it wasn’t organized well. The poorly described statistics were also a big drawback. For example, there were multiple times when something was described as “disproportionate” but the comparison groups were unclear. This was disappointing because there were a lot of statistics and those sections needed to be tightened up. Relatedly, obvious confounds aren’t even considered. I absolutely agree w This book shines when relaying women’s narratives and personal accounts of medical experiences. However, it wasn’t organized well. The poorly described statistics were also a big drawback. For example, there were multiple times when something was described as “disproportionate” but the comparison groups were unclear. This was disappointing because there were a lot of statistics and those sections needed to be tightened up. Relatedly, obvious confounds aren’t even considered. I absolutely agree with the author’s general conclusions, but it was frustrating to see such holes in the logical arguments. It felt like this book tried to cover far too much and failed. I’ll likely continue to ponder some of the narrative accounts, so I suppose it was worth the read (and advocated for incredibly important changes!) but disappointing overall.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC! This book was so much more than I expected and should honestly be mandatory reading for anyone going into healthcare (or, honestly, anyone who votes in our country). As a young woman with an autoimmune disease, I have struggled to have my pain and symptoms believed by both doctors and laypeople. I picked up this book hoping to learn more about bias in medicine and why this disbelief still happens. What I got from this book, however, was a comprehensive look at Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC! This book was so much more than I expected and should honestly be mandatory reading for anyone going into healthcare (or, honestly, anyone who votes in our country). As a young woman with an autoimmune disease, I have struggled to have my pain and symptoms believed by both doctors and laypeople. I picked up this book hoping to learn more about bias in medicine and why this disbelief still happens. What I got from this book, however, was a comprehensive look at the extent of the historical systems of oppression facing all women in the US, but more specifically, women of color in the US and how continued bias tangibly endangers women’s lives. It should be mandatory reading!

  29. 5 out of 5

    bookcaked

    This book will enrage you. Women’s healthcare in developed countries still suffers from racism, discrimination, and negligence. The Pain Gap does a great job of breaking these topics down, especially as they relate to American politics and policies that prevent better care. I wish less time was spent on the US politics part and more on the treatment (or lack of) for women and especially women of colour in general. A big chunk is also focused on pregnancy and death rates during birth. I think it’ This book will enrage you. Women’s healthcare in developed countries still suffers from racism, discrimination, and negligence. The Pain Gap does a great job of breaking these topics down, especially as they relate to American politics and policies that prevent better care. I wish less time was spent on the US politics part and more on the treatment (or lack of) for women and especially women of colour in general. A big chunk is also focused on pregnancy and death rates during birth. I think it’s a great book, definitely if you are new to these topics, but I’d have loved if it were a bit longer and more detailed on earlier topics as well.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    I was shocked by the author's negative experience in the American healthcare system. I don't think that the system is perfect by any means, but the severity of the problems was unveiled by this author. When she came to the recommendations for women, they seemed weak and not because she wanted them to be. It makes me furious that women can be in real pain and be ignored. I received a review copy from NetGalley. It just shocks me that people with sickle cell disease can be treated so callously. It' I was shocked by the author's negative experience in the American healthcare system. I don't think that the system is perfect by any means, but the severity of the problems was unveiled by this author. When she came to the recommendations for women, they seemed weak and not because she wanted them to be. It makes me furious that women can be in real pain and be ignored. I received a review copy from NetGalley. It just shocks me that people with sickle cell disease can be treated so callously. It's not a disease I know a lot about.

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