Phi Beta Cons

Re: Gendered Science

In case anyone else suffered through that whole Inside Higher Ed interview and still couldn’t figure out what the heck “gender analysis” is, I found some examples from the intro to the book the interviewee edited:

The best example of how gender analysis has changed science comes from the biomedical sciences. In this volume both Gloria Sarto and Marcia Stefanick recount aspects of the revolution in women’s health research that has taken place in the U.S. since the 1960s. As is now wellknown, before 1993 drugs were typically tested on men and the results generalized to women. Until recently, for example, little was known about the effects of aspirin on heart disease in women, yet women of an appropriate age were encouraged to take an aspirin each day. The net effect of gender bias in biomedical research is that women suffer unnecessarily and die. Adverse reactions to drugs occur twice as often in women as in men. . . . It seems fairly evident that studying drugs in nonrepresentative populations is simply bad science. Yet correction in this case required political intervention at the highest levels of government.

This is great, actually. As biological differences between men and women become apparent, we need to be more careful to take them into account.
Unfortunately, “gender analysis” is quite a broad (no pun intended!) field:

Textbooks have been revised to include the contributions of women scientists, and to remove outmoded and sexist metaphors (of the heroic sperm capturing demure and passive eggs, for example).

Thank God for that.


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