The Case for Gender Equity in Health Research

Gita Sen, Asha George, Piroska Östlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Attention to health equity on the basis of economic class, caste or race has not spilled over to an effective consideration ofgender. Yet, social bias not only heavily influences health outcomes between women and men, it also affects our very understanding of biological differences with implications for understanding gender equity. Hence, when considering biological differences or special gender needs, it is necessary to be aware that biological 'givens’ can also mask social norms that sanction discrimination and perpetuate health inequities. It is, therefore, particularly crucial to understand the nuances found in a gender and health equity approach and the consequences of not taking gender seriously in health research. These include the neglect of certain areas through resounding silences, the existence of misdirected or partial approaches, and the poor recognition of interactive pathways in terms of co-morbidity and multi ple social processes. After detailing this background we review the literature on the gender paradox’ in health from an equity perspective. Finally, we discuss how research can contribute to improving gender equity and health by being conscious of potential biases in data, methodology and clinical research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-117
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Health Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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