Gender Inequalities in Medical Research: A Systematic Literature Review

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Women’s Health Representative (New Rochelle). 2022 Jan 31;3(1):49-59. doi: 10.1089/whr.2021.0083. eCollection 2022.


Fund: Historically, medical studies have excluded female participants and research data has been collected from men and generalized to women. The gender gap in medical research, along with general misogyny, leads to real disadvantages for female patients. This systematic review of the literature aims to determine the extent of research on the sex and gender gap in medical research and to assess the extent of misogyny, if any, in modern medical research. Methods : Initial literature searches were conducted using PubMed, Science Direct, PsychINFO, and Google Scholar. Articles published between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2019 were included. An article was considered misogyny if it discussed female aesthetics in terms of health, but did not measure health or could not be used to improve clinical practice. Results: Of the 17 articles included, 12 examined the gender gap in medical research and 5 demonstrated misogyny, assessing female attractiveness for alleged medical reasons. Women remain vastly underrepresented in the medical literature, sex and gender are poorly reported and insufficiently analyzed in research, and misogynistic perceptions continue to permeate the narrative. Conclusion: The gender gap and misogynistic studies remain present in contemporary medical literature. The reasons and implications for practice are discussed.

PMID:35136877 | PMC:PMC8812498 | DOI:10.1089/whr.2021.0083

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