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AMWA Statement on COVID-19 — with a Gender Lens

Credit: AMWA, Dr. Somalee Banerjee, Artist-in-Residence 2019-2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust our nation into unprecedented times and highlighted disparities of race, ethnicity, and gender.

Sex and gender differences impact all health conditions and must inform clinical decision-making concerning COVID-19 at every level of care, including prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.  In addition, sex and gender must be considered as crucial variables in any research or public health surveillance conducted.  The American Medical Women’s Association calls for sex-disaggregated data in all COVID-19 surveillance reports as well as clinical and basic science research.

While women comprise about 75% of the healthcare workforce and thus will likely be disproportionately impacted during the pandemic, women healthcare leaders continue to be largely underrepresented across the nation. In addition, women healthcare professionals usually serve as primary caretakers on the home front, and the challenges of work/life integration will be compounded by exposure to potentially fatal occupational hazards. As with other crises, especially those resulting in loss of jobs and increased risks of anxiety and substance abuse, higher rates of domestic violence against women have been reported.  Inclusion of women in leadership is essential to identify disparities that affect women in the workplace and at home. We must safeguard principles of equity, address gender bias and discrimination, and ensure that health care is based on the science of sex and gender differences.


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