Medical Research Behind on Women’s Equality

Being a woman comes with a host of societal hurdles to overcome. Thankfully, women have come a long way in many aspects whether it be in the workforce or politics, however there’s still a lot to be done.

One topic on the list of inequalities women face, and it’s that doesn’t get addressed nearly as often as work or politics, is women’s equal representation in medical research.

This article in the Huffington Post states, “Why would we not want to include women in clinical trials and medical research? Why would we not insist upon something so basic that affects over half of our population?”

Good questions.

While the differences in progression and outcome of various diseases in women versus men are documented, clinical research for effectiveness, dosage or possible side effects of pharmaceutical drugs to treat those disease still focuses largely on a male research group.

There needs to be a shift in how medical research is carried out to not just include women in studies, but to separate findings based on sex.

It’s almost ironic; women are normally fighting to be seen the same as men, but in the medical research arena we’re asking for a kind of equality to study and treat us differently.

Women are different, our bodies our different, our biological makeup and functioning is different, so it only makes sense our body’s reactions to pharmaceutical drugs will also be different than our male counterparts.

As with every previous issue where women have demanding to see change, the first step is becoming informed. We can’t take a stand unless we know what we’re standing for.

To learn more about how diseases, conditions and treatments affect men and women differently, along with how to advocate for equal treatment and representation of women in medical research, please follow Society for Women’s Health Research and explore their work.

Part of taking control of our health is knowing how the things our doctor recommends for us will affect our bodies, but that can’t happen until change is made starting in the lab.

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Elle Michels

Elle Michels

Based in Washington, D.C., Elle Michels is a contributing writer to Womenshealth.com.