Sex inequalities in medical research: a systematic scoping review of the literature

Merone, Lea, Tsey, Komla, Russell, Darren, and Nagle, Cate (2022) Sex inequalities in medical research: a systematic scoping review of the literature. Women's Health Reports, 3 (1). pp. 49-59.

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Background: Historically, medical studies have excluded female participants and research data have been collected from males and generalized to females. The gender gap in medical research, alongside overarching misogyny, results in real-life disadvantages for female patients. This systematic scoping review of the literature aims to determine the extent of research into the medical research sex and gender gap and to assess the extent of misogyny, if any, in modern medical research.

Methods: Initial literature searches were conducted using PubMed, Science Direct, PsychINFO and Google Scholar. Articles published between January 01, 2009, and December 31, 2019, were included. An article was deemed to display misogyny if it discussed the female aesthetic in terms of health, but did not measure health or could not be utilized to improve clinical practice.

Results: Of the 17 included articles, 12 examined the gender gap in medical research and 5 demonstrated misogyny, assessing female attractiveness for alleged medical reasons. Females remain broadly under-represented in the medical literature, sex and gender are poorly reported and inadequately analyzed in research, and misogynistic perceptions continue to permeate the narrative.

Conclusion: The gender gap and misogynistic studies remain present in the contemporary medical literature. Reasons and implications for practice are discussed.

Item ID: 71304
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2688-4844
Keywords: feminism; gender; health disparities; gender gaps; medicine
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Copyright Information: This Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License [CC-BY] (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2022 21:41
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4299 Other health sciences > 429999 Other health sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200509 Women's and maternal health @ 100%
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