Thanks to a combination of biological (sex) and social (gender) differences, men and women face different risks of a number of diseases and conditions; for example, women are twice as likely as men to develop multiple sclerosis, a chronic illness that affects the nervous system. Meanwhile, men have a higher risk of heart attacks, but many women suffer from a different form of heart disease that is easily missed by standard tests.
Furthermore, men and women often respond very differently to drugs. Yet all too often, scientists fail to take these differences into account when designing and performing research and analysing their results. As a result, many women are subjected to tests and given drugs which have only been tested on men.
The EU sought to address this problem by requiring projects funded under the research, technology and development (RTD) Framework Programmes to submit a gender action plan. However, evaluations revealed that there was often a gap between what was written in the gender action plan and what happened in practice.
Now the GenderBasic project has come up with a set of practical tools, examples and best practice recommendations to help scientists incorporate sex and gender differences into their research more effectively.READ MORE