In the world of medicine, research isn’t just about advancing knowledge—it’s about saving lives. Every breakthrough, every new drug, every treatment owes its existence to clinical studies. Yet, it’s sobering to realize that just three decades ago, women were glaringly absent from these crucial studies. It wasn’t until June of 1993 that regulations finally mandated their inclusion, marking a long-overdue recognition of the importance of gender diversity in research.

Fast forward to today, and this gap remains, starkly evident in some of the most pressing health issues facing society. We know that two-thirds of those affected with Alzheimer’s disease are women, but the disparities don’t stop there. Lung cancer disproportionately affects women aged 40 to 59. Rheumatoid arthritis affects women at a ratio of 3 to 1 compared to men. And heart disease, the leading cause of death, claims the lives of far too many women. 

The grim reality is that women are sick, and despite these statistics, research dollars allocated to women’s health remain woefully inadequate. This is why at Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM) at Cleveland Clinic, we fund women-focused research as a central part of our mission. The time for equity is not just overdue—it’s now.

As we reflect on the urgency of this issue, it’s crucial to remember that behind these statistics are real faces, real lives. Every woman deserves access to quality healthcare, grounded in comprehensive research that considers their unique needs and challenges. It’s not just a matter of fairness; it’s a matter of life and death.

In the pursuit of equity, let us reaffirm the value of every woman’s health. Let us demand equal investment, equal representation, and equal attention. Because when it comes to women’s health, there can be no compromise. It’s time to recognize that women are worth it.