BMA report

Health inequalities and women

We call for greater understanding of the effect of social and economic factors on women's lives by the health workforce.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 7 September 2020
Topics: Population health
Public Health Article Illustration

What you will get from this report

  • Actions for policy makers nationally and locally and by those within the health system to help reduce health inequalities.
  • Supportive studies outlining the socio-economic disparity between men's and women's health.


Key findings

  • For women over age 65, life expectancy increased one year every six years, compared to one year every five years for men in the period 2000-2015.
  • There are clear and stark inequalities in health between women, which are related to socio-economic status, ethnicity and geographic region.
  • Across different stages of women's lives there are different social and economic factors which drive health and associated health inequalities; from early childhood through retirement and into older age.
  • The broad health workforce must take full account of the social and economic factors which shape women's lives and health at different stages of life.


  • Introduction
  • A discussion of the evidence
  • Life expectancy and disability free life expectancy, males
  • Life expectancy and disability free life expectancy, females
  • Female life expectancy at birth and healthy life expectancy by local authority
  • Life expectancy at birth, England
  • Deaths due to dementia, females by single years of age, England and Wales
  • Prevalence of any common mental disorder by household income, England
  • Maternal mortality rates according to mother’s country of birth
  • Actions required
  • Case study: MAMTA