Black women treated as ‘pain absorbers’ says Joy Francis in new report
Cultural transformation is urgently needed, including challenging and interrogating the current normalised behaviours of racism, for women of colour to receive quality healthcare, claims Joy Francis, Words of Colour’s Executive Director, in a new report by Ipsos.
The Hysterical Health report by Ipsos explains how culturally embedded beliefs about gender might be shaping healthcare practices in the UK.
While women in the UK have a longer life expectancy than men, they spend comparatively more of their lives in poor health. The research brings to life historical perspectives on women’s bodies that have set the stage for some of the deep-seated cultural assumptions that exists today.
Joy Francis explains:
“…for me it’s about the narrative hierarchy that exists that doesn’t privilege the lived experience of women, especially black and brown women…I would say our lived experiences are on the bottom rung of the ladder if they are on the ladder at all. The starting point is looking at the reality of misogyny and ethnic inequalities and the realities of how institutional and interpersonal racism operate”
She adds that cultural transformation is urgently needed, including challenging and interrogating the current normalised behaviours of racism. Change will require collaboration while bringing intersectional perspectives into the room – making sure people are culturally informed and services are culturally relevant.
Joy also argues that institutional structural and interpersonal racism are not only harmful for patients but also black and brown women working in healthcare settings.
Ipsos carried out ethnographic research with nine female participants, all based in the UK. Participants ranged from 20-81 years. Those recruited were participants who had a variety of health issues, and a mixture of digital and face-to-face ethnography was used.