When it comes to women’s health, we have a massive gender data gap on our hands. This means there’s a big difference in the quantity and quality of data that is collected and analysed on women and men. This includes things like whether we are more likely to get certain health conditions or react to medications differently. Women didn’t even have to be included in clinical trials until 1993¹, and the majority of medical research still relies on male mice². So it’s no wonder there’s a huge gap in women’s health research. It’s pretty dire.
The impact? It takes women longer to be diagnosed with diseases³, it means we’re less likely to be prescribed the right drugs⁴, and it means the majority of us (84% in fact) have felt dismissed by our GP⁵.
The Lowdown is on a mission to change that. We have a huge amount of insight into women’s real-world experiences of their health and the types of solutions we’re looking for. We partner with like-minded organisations to share our research into women’s health, so we can innovate better together and improve women’s health outcomes for everyone.
We do this because you told us you want to help. In a community survey we conducted in December 2023, 80% of Lowdown users told us they would either love to participate in research, or would like to, but have questions about how it works. And a whopping 62% of our community told us that the main reason they want to participate is so the next generation of women have better healthcare than we have now.
We couldn’t agree more. So here is an overview of the problems we’re trying to solve and how we work with partners to solve them:
Problem: Women aren’t represented in health research
⏭ The Lowdown work with innovators in women’s health, to gather insights on what women really want when it comes to their health
We do this by conducting research surveys and focus groups on behalf of partners. These will always be clearly labelled as ‘in partnership’ with our sponsoring partner. If you participate in this research, we will never share any personally identifiable information (like your name or email) with these partners. If you want to see an example of the types of reports we write, check out this report we created for the UK government on the Women’s Health Strategy in 2021.
Problem: Healthcare innovators and public healthcare systems find it hard to reach and speak to women
⏭ The Lowdown works with women’s health companies and public health organisations to spread the word when they launch new products, solutions and awareness campaigns, so our community can make more informed health decisions.
We do this by offering companies the opportunity to sponsor our events, newsletters or blogs, or social media channels. This content will always clearly be badged as ‘Sponsored by X’ or ‘Paid partnership with X’, and is always produced and reviewed by our medical team in line with our Content policy. Check out this example of a sponsored blog that we worked on with the digital contraceptive company, Natural Cycles.
We partner with healthcare providers to enable them to a provide a source of independent information, which is aligned to women’s needs for female health education and information on multiple treatment options. With all the partners we work with, the information provided to our audience is independent of those organisations and The Lowdown retains full editorial control.
We also work with organisations like the NHS to help raise awareness of public health campaigns and improve women’s health outcomes. This can range from running informative webinars and making content around topics like whether the COVID-19 jab can impact your menstrual cycle, to sharing tips on what to expect during your cervical screening.
Problem: Women’s participation in clinical trials remains depressingly low
A snippet from our email newsletter
The Lowdown works with partners to help recruit women directly into clinical trials and research studies
Clinical trials are an important step in getting a new drug or medical device into the market, but female participation remains low, especially when it comes to pregnant or breastfeeding women. Currently, women make up only 22% of Phase 1 clinical trial participants – and as recently as 2016, 70% of biomedical experiments did not include sex as a biological variable.⁶
To fill this gap, we work with companies that help to recruit women for clinical trials. We do this by promoting trials in our newsletter and on our social media that we think may be relevant to you, and give you the chance to find out more if you’re interested. If someone we refer to a trial ends up taking part, then we receive a fee for referring them. We also advise companies on how to improve the recruitment process for women and clinical trials to make it easier for you to take part, asking things like ‘have you thought about covering childcare costs?’ that a load of blokes sat around a boardroom might not think of…
If you have any questions or feedback for me and The Lowdown team, or if you are an organisation planning something exciting in the women’s health space and you want to work with us, don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing email@example.com
Alice set up The Lowdown in 2019 with a mission to help transform the minefield that is contraception. She’s spent the last four years talking to thousands of women about this problem – and leads on the delivery of our product, brand and overall proposition.