Boys to get lessons about periods and menopause alongside girls for sex education 

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Schools will be told to stop splitting up pupils for sex education classes so boys grow up with a better understanding of female health issues.

Doctors will also receive additional training on contraception and the menopause as part of a ten-year Women’s Health Strategy for England launched today.

Ministers want to tackle a culture of ‘medical misogyny’ which leaves women struggling to access the same quality of care as men. 

The Government has set an ambition to ensure women and girls ‘have their concerns taken seriously’.

It comes after 84 per cent of people told a consultation women often feel they are not listened to when they seek help from the NHS. Boys and girls will be taught about women’s health, including the menopause, ‘from an early age’, with schools asked not to split them up for lessons on relationships, sex and health.

Schools will be told to stop splitting up pupils for sex education classes so boys grow up with a better understanding of female health issues

Boys and girls will be taught about women’s health, including periods and the menopause, ‘from an early age’, with schools asked not to split them up for lessons on relationships, sex and health

Boys and girls will be taught about women’s health, including periods and the menopause, ‘from an early age’, with schools asked not to split them up for lessons on relationships, sex and health

The strategy said this will improve awareness and ensure ‘issues such as menstrual health, contraception and menopause are no longer taboo subjects’. 

As part of the reforms, trainee medics will face assessments from the General Medical Council on women’s health, with topics including the menopause, obstetrics and gynaecology. 

Staff undergoing training to become a GP or physiotherapist will also have specialist teaching while existing doctors could take extra courses to top up their learning. 

The strategy said: ‘As a result, more doctors will have a better baseline understanding of women’s health.’ 

In a raft of commitments, there will also be a drive to end the ‘postcode lottery’ in access to IVF treatment, which currently sees some areas offering one cycle and others three.

The first Women’s Health Strategy for England promises to expand female health hubs and ‘one-stop clinics’.

The report said: ‘Historically the health and care system has been designed by men for men.’

Under the plans, transgender men and non-binary people with female reproductive organs should always receive screening invitations so they can access cervical and breast cancer screening.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘Our health and care system only works if it works for everyone.’

He insisted: ‘It is not right that 51 per cent of our population are disadvantaged in accessing the care they need simply because of their sex.

‘The publication of this strategy is a landmark moment in addressing entrenched inequalities and improving the health and wellbeing of women.’

DAME LESLEY REGAN: There’s no denying women’s health is suffering

DAME LESLEY REGAN: There's no denying women's health is suffering

DAME LESLEY REGAN: There’s no denying women’s health is suffering

Writing for the Daily Mail, Dame Lesley Regan, the women’s health commissioner, said: ‘There’s no denying women’s health is suffering disproportionately. We have the data to back it up – the diagnosis times, the frequent cases of misdiagnosis, the way women are listened to and the way we respond to “taboo” conditions.

‘But we’re taking action.

‘I’m a great believer in if we get it right for women, the rest of society benefits.

‘Today’s first Women’s Health Strategy is a significant milestone in changing the way we view and discuss women’s health, setting out bold ambitions around where we want to be in the next 10 years.

‘It’s crucial we get the basics right and ensure women can access services for their everyday needs easily – such as getting contraception, easing their menopausal symptoms or having their smear test – and as the Women’s Health Ambassador and as a clinician, I’m looking forward to working with people across the sector to enact real change and better join up services so women don’t have to take days off just for their health.

‘The Strategy is broad ranging so we can ensure women are getting the right care across their lifetime. It sets out actions from education at school and university, to bolstering research to better understand how illness such as dementia affects women differently.

‘This isn’t the end of the conversation.

‘Bridging the gender health gap will require perseverance and profound change – not only in health policy – but within wider societal attitudes too.

‘It’s up to every single one of us to continue tackling taboos and empowering women everywhere. Women, I urge you to keep speaking up to make sure everyone is listening.’

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