Dementia devastates the lives of everyone it touches, but our analysis shows that women are bearing a disproportionate weight of the impact.
Our analysis shows that dementia became the leading cause of death for UK women more than a decade ago, in 2011. Shockingly, it’s remained at this position ever since, even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two in three people with dementia (65%) are women, and longer life expectancy alone does not explain this disparity. Women are also more likely to care for a loved one with dementia – making up around two thirds of unpaid carers.
Yet across medical research, data from women is too often missing. And in the lab, female dementia researchers are less likely to move into senior roles than men.
We’re calling for action to tackle dementia’s disproportionate impact on women. And we must ensure women can make a full contribution to research, both as participants and as researchers.
The government must deliver on its Dementia Moonshot promise to double research funding. And we’re urging them to convene a Dementia Medicines Taskforce to speed up progress in finding new treatments for this devastating condition.
The Impact of Dementia on Women
We’re committed to addressing these issues in the research we fund, and have begun to take action. But we know we have further to go, and we want to kick-start a conversation about what we can do across the sector.
- For the UK government:
The Dementia and Women's Health Strategies must recognise dementia's disproportionate effect on women. The government should take action to address this as part of their implementation.
- For regulators and funding bodies:
These organisations must set out expectations and give clear guidance to:
- reduce the gender data gap in research.
- improve the diversity of participants in clinical trials.
- For research organisations and funders:
This includes the life science industry, NHS, government, academic institutions and charities. We should have clear plans to "break the bias" and show that female researchers can take part on an equal basis with male researchers.