The Problem with Medical Gaslighting in Women's Health

The Problem with Medical Gaslighting in Women's Health

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Why this petition matters

Started by Megan Hsiung

What is happening?

First, we need to describe what the term “gaslighting, or medical gaslighting” entails: 

Gaslighting as a term has critical and established use in describing abuse toward victims of partner and patient violence. 

- This term deserves a place within the culture of medicine due to physicians or medical providers downplaying patient concerns. 

In recent years, the term ‘medical gaslighting’ and accompanying accounts of self-identified women experiencing a sense of dismissal or invalidation. Gaslighting has primarily been conceptualized in the field of psychology as a phenomenon within interpersonal relationships (Sebring, 2021).

At a glance…

While medical gaslighting can be a problem for anyone, regardless of sex, women seem to bear the brunt of it.

  • Women get prescribed less pain medication than men after identical procedures.
  • Women are less likely to be admitted to hospitals and receive stress tests when they complain of chest pain.
  • Women are significantly more likely than men to be “undertreated” for pain by doctors
  • Women take longer to be diagnosed with certain disease

Why should you sign this petition?

Medical professionals are bound by a form of the Hippocratic oath, which states that they will treat their patients to the best of their ability. However, in a survey of 2,468 women, 83% felt they had experienced some form of gender discrimination. That means that 2,073 women surveyed felt that they were not treated the same as a man in their situation would be.

What are we proposing:

We suggest that the University of Maryland School of Medicine requires all students to complete an unconscious bias training course. While UMSOM provides an optional unconscious bias training for students who choose to take it, this petition asserts that all students be required to take a modified version of this training.

In the medical industry, women’s health issues are not only more likely to be misdiagnosed, but they are also more likely to be dismissed by doctors as less severe. The differential treatment of physicians toward female patients is potentially harmful if women are not receiving proper diagnosis and treatment. Through the implementation of mandatory unconscious bias training for future medical students at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), we hope to mitigate the impacts of unconscious bias and reduce intentional or unintentional gaslighting of women’s health. With your support, we would like to send this petition to the UMSOM administration to show that this issue is crucial to future patient care, and should thus be addressed in medical school.


(Hoffmann & Tarzian, 2001) 

(Zhang, Losin, Ashar, Koban, Wager, 2021)

(Sebring, 2021)



1,320 have signed. Let’s get to 1,500!