top of page
Modern Workspace

The Challenge of Women's Health Marketing: Overcoming Taboos, Stigmas, and Bias

In today's progressive society, discussions surrounding women's health have significantly evolved, encouraging openness and empowerment. However, despite this progress, marketing women's health products continues to face considerable challenges due to lingering taboos, stigmas, and biases. From censorship of ads to gender bias in medical research, women's health marketing grapples with various hurdles.

Taboos, Stigmas, and Bias in Women's Health Marketing:

Throughout history, many cultures have considered women's health matters as taboo. Discussions related to menstrual health, reproductive organs, or sexual well-being are often met with stigma, making it challenging to address certain health issues openly and difficult for marketers to promote products and services in a manner that is informative and supportive. As a result, marketing efforts may be restricted, and important health information might be withheld from the public.

The historical lack of female representation in medical research has led to gender biases in understanding and addressing women's health issues. This can influence the way products are developed, marketed, and received by the public.

In the digital age, social media has become an integral part of marketing strategies, allowing businesses to connect with their target audience and promote products and services effectively.

However, the road to marketing women's health products on these platforms is often fraught with obstacles, as evident in a recent report published in January 2022 by the Center for Intimacy Justice (CIJ), a non-profit social change organization.

The report exposed the alarming trend of censorship faced by 60 companies specializing in healthcare for women and people of diverse genders by Meta (formerly Facebook and Instagram). These companies had their ads rejected, limiting their ability to raise awareness and provide education about critical health conditions and issues affecting women.

The CIJ report shed light on the distressing reality faced by companies dedicated to women's health. Meta's rejection of ads encompassed a broad range of health conditions and issues, including bladder control, breast pumps, endometriosis, fertility, menopause, pelvic pain, pregnancy, postpartum clothing, sexual consent, sexual pleasure, and urinary tract infections. Shockingly, even seemingly innocuous words like "vaginal health," "menopause," and "obgyn" were rejected under the pretext of representing "adult content" or advertising "sexual pleasure."

Consequences of Censorship:

The rejection of ads related to women's health issues severely restricts access to essential information, leaving women uninformed about available products and services that can significantly impact their well-being.

Companies working to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around women's health conditions are silenced, hindering broader advocacy efforts. For affected companies, being denied advertising opportunities on major social media platforms can have severe financial repercussions, hindering their growth and ability to reach potential customers.

The rejection of ads using common anatomical terms perpetuates taboos and stigmas surrounding women's health, hindering progress toward a more open and accepting society.

A recent LinkedIn post highlighted the bias faced by women's sexual health content on Meta (formerly Facebook and Instagram). The post compared two sexual health product ads: one targeted at men with phallic imagery, which was allowed, and the other addressing a female health condition, endometriosis, which was rejected. This example sheds light on the systemic rejection of advertisements aimed at women and underrepresented genders on social media platforms.

Overcoming Censorship and Bias in Women's Health Marketing:

The findings of the CIJ report highlight the urgent need for action to ensure a more inclusive and supportive digital environment for women's health marketing. Here are some strategies to overcome censorship and bias:

  • Engage in Dialogue: Companies affected by censorship should engage in open dialogues with social media platforms to understand their policies better and advocate for changes that promote responsible women's health marketing.

  • Collaborate with Advocacy Groups: Partnering with women's health advocacy organizations can amplify messages and build support for policy changes that prioritize the dissemination of informative content.

  • Diversify Marketing Channels: Relying solely on social media platforms for advertising can make companies vulnerable to censorship. Expanding marketing efforts to other digital channels and media outlets ensures a more comprehensive reach.

  • Educate Platform Reviewers: Workshops and training sessions for platform content reviewers can help raise awareness about women's health issues, reducing the likelihood of biased censorship.

  • Collaborate with Journalists and Influencers: Building relationships with journalists and influencers who are passionate about women's health can be a powerful way to counteract censorship and bias. By working with these influential individuals, companies can leverage their platforms to amplify important messages, share accurate information, and advocate for more inclusive health marketing. Journalists can help shed light on the challenges faced by women's health marketers and the impact of censorship, while influencers can use their reach to engage audiences in open discussions about sensitive topics and promote positive narratives surrounding women's health.

  • Community Building: Fostering online communities centered around women's health can create spaces where open discussions are encouraged, challenging taboos and destigmatizing the topic. Additionally, marketers can foster a supportive community on their company's website. By circulating educational information, sharing stories, and hosting virtual events, a safe space can be created for open discussions about women's health concerns and experiences.

The challenges faced by women's health marketers in overcoming taboos, stigmas, and bias are formidable. However, through education, inclusivity, and community building, we can create a more empowering and informed landscape for women's health marketing.

By highlighting real-life examples, we reaffirm the importance of challenging biased censorship and advocating for inclusive content policies.

Let us embrace the educational work of women's health founders and innovators and work collectively to ensure that essential information is accessible to all. Together, through community-driven efforts, we can pave the way for a more empowered future in women's health marketing, breaking barriers, and fostering a society that celebrates and prioritizes women's well-being.


Daniela Schardinger


As the visionary behind ELAFY Consulting’s brand, Daniela is a seasoned corporate professional with 15 years of experience in brand management, marketing and advertising.

"What I love about Marketing & Branding is that it is never done. It is about perpetual motion."

Let's connect and build genuine emotional connections with our customers!"


bottom of page