Gender bias in medicine.

Rui Poínhos

Abstract


Gender bias consists in different practices for men and women. It has been suggested that gender biases in medicine occur at various levels, reflected in the way gender issues are included in medical curricula, equity between sexes in academic course and professional career, research and scientific publications, definition of pathologies, clinical practice and health policies. A review of the literature about gender bias in medicine was carried out, particularly in terms of research and clinical practice. The available evidence on this phenomenon and its effects is discussed, and proposals to its reduction are presented. There is a large body of scientific evidence on the existence of gender biases in medicine, leading mostly to greater inadequacy of clinical care provided to female patients. The proposals of several authors may contribute to the reduction of these effects and, consequently, to greater acuity of research and better adequacy of health care. In addition to the larger study of gender bias, we emphasize social, political and educational measures, the regard of participants' sex in the design of clinical trials and the inclusion of the study of gender theories and discussion of attitudes about gender in academic curricula.

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