Admin Admin

Why did it take until 1991 to start emphasizing women in medical research?

109_0925October 24, 2010

Another topic I introduce in the chapter, ‘What’s politics got to do with it?’ is funding for medical research. In many countries, U.S. included, government has a budget for medical research. For far too long, women were excluded from medical research funded by the National Institutes of Health in the U.S.

Several reasons supported this exclusion and biological sex inequity in United States health care research. Celeste Condit and I discuss these more fully in our book, ‘Evaluating women’s health messages.’ First, scientific research traditionally had been conducted by men. The questions they formed for research related to other men. 

A second reason has to do with the predominant scientific method. It involves the testing of hypotheses, typically involving the relationships between two to four variables and attempting to control for differences. Women’s lives include obvious and continuous biologic transitions, leading scientists to prefer to use men as research subjects. This was the case even when the medications and techniques being tested were designed for women.

The most often cited reason to exclude women from medical research study populations was the potential for pregnancy. The possibility of causing harm to a fetus deters research for both moral and financial reasons. 

A fourth reason–funds for health care research are scarce, creating intense competition among all researchers, which brings the discussion full circle. Men were primarily responsible for selecting the individuals who conducted the research and granted preference to other men conducting research about men.

Let’s hope that in this era of most stringent competition for research dollars, biological sex inequities do not again emerge. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Author: Roxanne

I have always loved to learn. After years of trying to pick a major as an undergraduate, I met a professor who guided me to graduate school. And from graduate school, I learned that I could always go to school and keep on learning. And so I have...

One thought on “Why did it take until 1991 to start emphasizing women in medical research?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: