Better science with sex and gender: Facilitating the use of a sex and gender-based analysis in health research

NEXUS, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. .
International Journal for Equity in Health (Impact Factor: 1.71). 06/2009; 8(1):14. DOI: 10.1186/1475-9276-8-14
Source: PubMed


Much work has been done to promote sex and gender-based analyses in health research and to think critically about the influence of sex and gender on health behaviours and outcomes. However, despite this increased attention on sex and gender, there remain obstacles to effectively applying and measuring these concepts in health research. Some health researchers continue to ignore the concepts of sex and gender or incorrectly conflate their meanings. We report on a primer that was developed by the authors to help researchers understand and use the concepts of sex and gender in their work. We provide detailed definitions of sex and gender, discuss a sex and gender-based analysis (SGBA), and suggest three approaches for incorporating sex and gender in health research at various stages of the research process. We discuss our knowledge translation process and share some of the challenges we faced in disseminating our primer with key stakeholders. In conclusion, we stress the need for continued attention to sex and gender in health research.


Available from: Lorraine Greaves
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    • "Experimental studies have demonstrated sex-dependent physiological, morphological, and hormonal differences, and therefore the capability of biological response can be different in both sexes [14]. A number of studies have confirmed sexual dimorphism under pathological and various physiological conditions, underlining the need to include both sexes in the experimental groups. "
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    ABSTRACT: Sex bias has been described nowadays in biomedical research on animal models, although sexual dimorphism has been confirmed widely under pathological and physiological conditions. The main objective of our work was to study the sex differences in constitutive autophagy in spinal cord and skeletal muscle tissue from wild type mice. To examine the influence of sex on autophagy, mRNA and proteins were extracted from male and female mice tissues. The expressions of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) and sequestosome 1 (p62), markers to monitor autophagy, were analyzed at 40, 60, 90, and 120 days of age. We found significant sex differences in the expression of LC3 and p62 in both tissues at these ages. The results indicated that sex and tissue specific differences exist in constitutive autophagy. These data underlined the need to include both sexes in the experimental groups to minimize any sex bias.
    02/2014; 2014(4):652817. DOI:10.1155/2014/652817
    • "Gender norms and roles influence attitudes and behaviors in many areas, including relationships, parenting, schooling, work and health practices [13,42]. Gender roles can also create economic and cultural pressures that affect the health of females and males differently [13,25,26]. Research has shown that men’s smoking is related to their masculine ideologies of independence, physical resilience to harmful substances and capacity to endure risk-taking [25,26,43]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Tobacco use in China is disproportionally distributed among rural and urban populations with rural people smoking more. While there is a wealth of evidence on the association between tobacco use among rural people and their lower socio-economic status (SES), how social structural factors contribute to rural smoking is not well understood. Guided by a socio-ecological model, the objective of this study was to explore the personal and social determinants that play a key role in sustaining smoking practices among Chinese rural people. An ethnographic study was conducted in a rural area of Central Jiangsu, China. Participants (n = 29) were recruited from families where there was at least one smoking resident and there were young children. In-depth interviews and unstructured observations were used to collect data, which were then analyzed with an interpretive lens. Although individuals had limited knowledge about the risks of smoking and lack of motivation to quit, social factors were in effect the main barriers to quitting smoking. Cigarette exchange and cigarette gifting permeated every aspect of rural family life, from economic activities to leisure pastimes, in family and wider social interactions. Traditional familism and collectivism interplayed with the pro-smoking environment and supported rural people's smoking practices at the community level. Living in the rural area was also a barrier to quitting smoking because of the lack of information on smoking cessation and the influence of courtyard-based leisure activities that facilitated smoking. Development of comprehensive smoking cessation interventions in rural China needs to extend beyond an individual level to take into account the social determinants influencing smoking practices.
    International Journal for Equity in Health 02/2014; 13(1):12. DOI:10.1186/1475-9276-13-12 · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    • "The representation of both sexes in pharmaceutical advertisements is a point of interest in research on gender and health issues (46, 53, 54) given that, if such representations are inconsistent with reality, they may reinforce the perception that certain illnesses are associated with the most frequently portrayed sex. As an innovative research field focused on studying the differences between men and women and how such differences affect diseases and their diagnoses and treatments, gender-based medicine and evidence-based medicine share the hypothesis that there are inaccuracies in the production and dissemination of knowledge, as well as in medical practice, with regard to rigour, transparency, and subjective judgement (55–57). "
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    ABSTRACT: BackgroundThe three papers of this doctoral thesis are based on the social construction of reality through the analysis of communication relating to health issues. We have analysed the contents of parliamentary, institutional, and mass media to uncover whether their communications create, transmit, and perpetuate gender biases and/or stereotypes, which may have an impact on people's health, with a particular focus on women.ObjectiveTo analyse decision making and the creation of gender awareness policies and actions affecting women's health: (1) political debates about abortion, (2) gender awareness communication campaigns and educational actions, and (3) pharmaceutical advertising strategies. DesignQuantitative and qualitative methods were employed, and the research included observational studies and systematic reviews. To apply a gender perspective, we used the level of gender observation proposed by S. Harding, which states that: (1) gender is the basis of social norms and (2) gender is one of the organisers of the social structure.ResultsSixty percentage of the bills concerning abortion introduced in the Spanish Parliament were initiated and led by pro-choice women's groups. Seventy-nine percent of institutional initiatives aimed at promoting equality awareness and were in the form of educational actions, while unconventional advertising accounted for 6 percent. Both initiatives focused on occupational equality, and very few actions addressed issues such as shared responsibility or public policy. With regard to pharmaceutical advertising, similar traditional male–female gender roles were used between 1975 and 2005. ConclusionsGender sensitivity continues to be essential in changing the established gender system in Spanish institutions, which has a direct and indirect impact on health. Greater participation of women in public policy and decision-making are critical for womens’ health, such as the issue of abortion. The predominance of women as the target group of institutional gender awareness campaigns proves that the gender perspective still lacks the promotion of shared responsibilities between men and women. There is a need for institutions that act as ‘policy watchdogs’ to control the gender biases in mass media and pharmaceutical marketing as well as to ensure the proper implementation and maintenance of Spanish equality laws.
    Global Health Action 06/2013; 6(1):20372. DOI:10.3402/gha.v6i0.20372 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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