Sex and Gender Research Articles

The rationale and guidelines for integrating sex and gender into research.

BIAS IN Research – Articles about bias in research across multiple domains.
TERMINOLOGY, GUIDELINES, AND RESOURCES – Resources for beginning researchers in sex and gender health.
INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE/NATIONAL ACADEMIES – Foundational resources for integrating sex and gender into research.
INTERNATIONAL – International resources for researchers

PUBMED Search Tool

PubMed Search Tool For Sex and Gender Content

The Sex and Gender Specific Health website’s resources page contains a PubMed search tool to find articles showing sex and gender differences for health conditions. Basic and advanced PubMed tools are available, as well as instructions for use. Click on Literature Search & Database Resources.

Bias in Research

Articles about bias in research across multiple domains.

Progress in Implementing Sex as a Biological Variable in the U.S. National Institutes of Health

January 22, 2020
Sex as a Biological Variable: A 5-Year Progress Report and Call to Action. Journal of Women’s Health. Arnegard ME, et al. 5 years ago, the NIH recognized Sex as a Biological Variable (SABV) as a necessary consideration in submitted research proposals. This article discusses the steps the NIH has taken, including feedback received and future opportunities. It ends with a call to action for NIH stakeholders to increase the efforts to include SABV at every step of the biomedical research pathway.

Sex and Gender Factors in Medical Studies: Implications for Health and Clinical Practice

January 22/29, 2003
JAMA.  Vivian W. Pinn MD. Males and females have different patterns of illness and different life spans… Understanding the bases of these sex-based differences is important to developing new approaches to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Sex Differences in Toxicology

October 2011
Same sex, no sex, and unaware sex in neurotoxicology. Weiss, B. Neurotoxicology research has ignored differences between the sexes, even though such differences are pervasive. Males predominate in behavioral experiments, few such experiments study both sexes, some investigators fail to even describe the sex of their subjects, and in vitro studies tend to wholly ignore sex, even for model systems aimed at neurological disorders that display marked sex differences.

Poverty and Gender in Health Research

JULY 1, 2004
Paying attention to gender and poverty in health research:content and process issues. Piroska Östlin, Gita Sen, & Asha George. Ignoring factors such as socioeconomic class, race and gender leads to biases in both the content and process of research. We use two such factors poverty and gender to illustrate how this occurs. There is a systematic imbalance in medical journals: research into diseases that predominate in the poorest regions of the world is less likely to be published. In addition, the slow recognition of women’s health problems, misdirected and partial approaches to understanding women’s and men’s health, and the dearth of information on how gender interacts with other social determinants continue to limit the content of health research. In the research community these imbalances in content are linked to biases against researchers from poorer regions and women.

Clinical Implications of Sex Analyses in Studies

June 16, 2003
Expanding the frontiers of women’s health research — US style. Pinn, VW. Research on women’s health and sex and gender factors is providing the data with which to better arm the physician for possible variation in approaches to better approaches, drug dosages, or diagnostic practices not only for women but also men. the new knowledge is creating new challenges to ensure that future physicians possess a full understanding of how to provide gender-appropriate care.

Scientific Excellence in Applying Sex- and Gender-Sensitive Methods in Biomedical and Health Research

February 19, 2010
Scientific excellence in applying sex-and gender-sensitive methods in biomedical and health research. Nieuwenhoven, L., & Klinge, I.  The present work aims at familiarizing a broad range of scientists in the field of biomedical and health research with the basics of conducting sex- and gender-sensitive research. It clarifies concepts and provides a general introduction to sex- and gender-sensitive methods. Challenges in pitfalls conducting sex- and gender-sensitive research, originally identified in the social sciences, are translated to the practice of biomedical and health research. A tool is presented that allows for the detection of sex and gender bias throughout all phases of the research process and shows how this bias can be overcome through sex- and gender-sensitive (1) relevance checking, (2) literature search, (3) formulation of research questions and hypotheses, (4) research methods and sample, (5) data analysis and interpretation, (6) reporting, and (7) conclusions and recommendations.

Women’s Health and the FDA

October 20, 2005
Women’s health and the FDA.Wood, S. F.  Susan Wood’s discussion of why she resigned from the FDA and how FDA policies harmed women in a number of areas. Resignation Prompted by Decisions Disregarding Science by Susan Wood, MD, adjunct associate professor at the School of Public Affairs at American University, Washington, D.C. Formerly,assistant commissioner for women’s health and director of the Office of Women’s Health at the Food and Drug Administration.

Calling for Sex-Specific Reporting of Trial Results

May 2008
Dispelling the myths: calling for sex-specific reporting of trial results. Hayes, S. N., & Redberg, R. F. The history and myths associated with the exclusion of women from clinical trials are summarized. It is time to recognize that women are complex biologi-cal creatures just as are men. All clinical studies shouldstrive to include equal numbers of female and male partici-pants or to at least reflect the prevalence of the condition of interest by sex. Data must also be analyzed by sex.

Sex Differences in Scientific Research

BOOK REVIEW of Sex Differences: Summarizing More Than a Century of Scientific
Research. By Lee Ellis, Scott Hershberger, Evelyn Field, Scott Wersinger, Sergio Pellis, David Geary, Craig Palmer, Katherine Hoyenga, Amir Hetsroni, and Kazmer Karadi. P. The book includes a massive compendium of citations for reported sex differences. Overall, the book will be a valuable reference resource for researchers in a variety of disciplines.

Sex Differences and Individual Differences in Science

June 9, 2003
Understanding the biology of sex and gender differences: using subgroup analysis and statistical design to detect sex differences in clinical trials. Keitt, S. K., Wagner, C. R., Tong, C., & Marts, S. A.  In July 2001, the Society for Women’s Health Research convened a workshop to address strategies for conducting subgroup analyses to detect sex differences. Workshop participants concluded that understanding sex differences will enable medical researchers to design healthcare interventions for both men and women more effectively and that one can plan for and conduct sex analysis without compromising the quality of the study or making the study prohibitively expensive.

Terminology, Guidelines, and Resources

Resources for beginning researchers in sex and gender health.

The Sex and Gender Equity in Research (SAGER) Guidelines for Authors and Editors

May 3, 2016
Sex and gender equity in research: rationale for the SAGER guidelines and recommended use. Heidari, S., Babor, T. F., De Castro, P., Tort, S., & Curno, M.  This article describes the rationale for an international set of guidelines to encourage a more systematic approach to the reporting of sex and gender in research across disciplines. A panel of 13 experts representing nine countries developed the guidelines, which can be found here.

Researchers Views of Terminololgy

November 20, 2012
Beyond a dichotomous view of the concepts of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ focus group discussions among gender researchers at a medical faculty Fjellman AL, Wiklund A, Lundman B, Christianson M, Hammarstrom A (2012). The aim of this study was to explore what the concepts of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ meant for gender researchers based in a medical faculty.

Professional Journals Terminology

April 18, 2012
An Empirical Analysis of the Use of ‘Sex’ and ‘Gender’ in ‘Gender-Specific Medicine’ Journals.  Hammarström A, Annandale E (2012)  The aim of this article is to empirically explore how the concepts of ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are used in the new field of ‘gender-specific medicine’, as reflected in two medical journals which are foundational to this relatively new field.

Research Resources in SGBM

October 14, 2016
How to Study the Impact of Sex and Gender in Medical Research: A Review of Resources. McGregor, AJ, Hasnain, M, Sandberg, K, et al. Sex- and gender-based comparisons can inform research on disease mechanisms and the development of new therapeutics as well as enhance scientific rigor and reproducibility. This review will assist basic researchers, clinical investigators, as well as epidemiologists, population, and social scientists by providing an annotated bibliography of currently available resource tools on how to consider sex and gender as independent variables in research design and methodology.

Institute of Medicine/National Academies

Foundational resources for integrating sex and gender into research.

Exploring the Biological Contribution to Human Health: Does Sex Matter?

April 4, 2001
Institute of Medicine Report. It’s obvious why only men develop prostate cancer and why only women get ovarian cancer. But it is not obvious why women are more likely to recover language ability after a stroke than men or why women are more apt to develop autoimmune diseases such as lupus. Sex differences in health throughout the lifespan have been documented. Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health begins to snap the pieces of the puzzle into place so that this knowledge can be used to improve health for both sexes. From behavior and cognition to metabolism and response to chemicals and infectious organisms, this book explores the health impact of sex (being male or female, according to reproductive organs and chromosomes) and gender (one’s sense of self as male or female in society).

Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health discusses basic biochemical differences in the cells of males and females and health variability between the sexes from conception throughout life. The book identifies key research needs and opportunities and addresses barriers to research.

Women’s Health Research: Progress, Pitfalls and Promise

Women’s Health Research: Progress, Pitfalls, and Promise: Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Smith Taylor, J. Even though slightly over half of the U.S. population is female, medical research historically has neglected the health needs of women. However, over the past two decades, there have been major changes in government support of women’s health research — in policies, regulations, and the organization of research efforts. To assess the impact of these changes, Congress directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to ask the IOM to examine what has been learned from that research and how well it has been put into practice as well as communicated to both providers and women.

IOM Sex-Specific Reporting of Scientific Research

January 13, 2012
A Workshop Summary by Theresa M. Wizemann, Ph.D., Rapporteur Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice On August 30, 2011, the IOM’s Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice hosted a workshop to address the recommendation in Women’s Health Research: Progress, Pitfalls, and Promise that journals should adopt a guideline that, where appropriate, articles report the outcomes of clinical trials report on men and women separately. The workshop focus went beyond clinical trials, to look at sex-specific reporting in all types of scientific research. Speakers at the workshop discussed the need for sex-specific reporting, potential barriers to such reporting, as well as what must be done to report sex-specific results. This document summarizes the workshop.

Sex Differences and Implications for Translational Neuroscience Research

Institute of Medicine (US) Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders. Biological differences between the sexes influence not only individual health but also public health, biomedical research, and health care. The Institute of Medicine held a workshop March 8-9, 2010, to discuss sex differences and their implications for translational neuroscience research, which bridges the gap between scientific discovery and application.

Women’s Mental Health Across the Life Course Through a Sex and Gender Lens

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a workshop on March 7, 2018, to help inform research, programs, and policies to better meet the mental health needs of women in the United States. Participants examined trends in mental health as well as risk and protective factors for diverse populations of women, and they considered the research needed for a better understanding of women’s mental health. Important issues of practice and policy also were discussed. Experts explored these topics from a life-course perspective and at biological, behavioral, social/cultural, and societal levels of analysis. This publication briefly summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.


International resources for researchers

Sex and Gender Analysis and Case Studies Tools

Gendered Innovations provides tools for Sex and Gender research and analysis for scientists and engineers.

Sex and Stem Cells

Taking sex into account in stem cells at Gendered Innovations.

Gendered Innovations: How Gender Analysis Contributes to Research

The report is the result of the work of the EU/US Expert Group Innovation through Gender directed by Londa Schiebinger, Stanford University and Ineke Klinge, Maastricht University, NL. The Report was presented in the European Parliament on July 2013, with a foreword by the Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn. Gendered Innovations offers practical methods of sex and gender analysis for researchers and engineers. The methods for gender considertions are illustrated in 23 case studies.

What a Difference Sex and Gender Make: A Gender, Sex and Health Research Casebook

Peer reviewed casebook created at the Institute of Gender and Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health. Research It also contains resources to use in the classroom.

Sex and Gender Reporting in Canadian Health Research

Sex and Gender Reporting in Health Research: Why Canada Should Be a Leader Authors: Joy L. Johnson, Alain Beaudet Abstract Sex and gender have been demonstrated to influence all domains of health, from basic mechanisms of disease development to health service utilization. It is therefore no longer acceptable to ignore sex and gender issues in […]

Using Sex and Gender Analysis in Health Research – Canadian Primer

May 6, 2009
Better science with sex and gender: Facilitating the use of a sex and gender-based analysis in health research. Johnson, J. L., Greaves, L., & Repta, R. This paper builds on previous publications and responds to calls for additional guidelines on how to effectively incorporate sex and gender in health research. In this paper, the authors discuss the conceptual work that was the foundation for the primer [on sex and gender in research], share the detailed definitions of sex and gender that we developed, and describe a three-prong approach to sex and gender-based analysis (SGBA).

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