Presenter(s): Londa Schiebinger, MA, PhD
Audience: IUSM faculty, students, and staff in medical research, computer science, and engineering
Why Gendered Innovations?
Doing research wrong costs lives and money. For example, between 1997 and 2000, 10 drugs were withdrawn from the U.S. market because of life-threatening health effects. Eight of these posed ‘greater health risks for women than for men’ (U.S. GAO, 2001). Not only does developing a drug in the current market cost billions—but when drugs failed, they caused human suffering and death.
Gender bias also leads to missed market opportunities. In engineering, for example, considering short people (many women, but also many men) “out-of-position” drivers leads to greater injury in automobile accidents (see Pregnant Crash Test Dummies). In basic research, failing to use appropriate samples of male and female cells, tissues, and animals yields faulty results (see Stem Cells). In medicine, not recognizing osteoporosis as a male disease delays diagnosis and treatment in men (see Osteoporosis Research in Men). In city planning, not collecting data on caregiving work leads to inefficient transportation systems (see Housing and Neighborhood Design). We can’t afford to get the research wrong.
Doing research right can save lives and money. An analysis of the U.S. Women’s Health Initiative Hormone Therapy Trial, for example, found that for every $1 spent, $140 were returned to taxpayers in health care savings. The study also saved lives, adding 145,000 more quality-adjusted life years (Roth et al., 2014).
It is crucially important to identify gender bias. But analysis cannot stop there: Gendered Innovations offer state-of-the-art methods of sex and gender analysis. Integrating these methods into basic and applied research produces excellence in science, health & medicine, and engineering research, policy, and practice. The methods of sex and gender analysis are one set of methods among many that a researcher will bring to a project.
Londa Schiebinger, MA, PhD is the John L. Hinds Professor of History of Science at Stanford University. She currently directs the EU/US Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environment project. She is a leading international expert on gender in science and technology and has addressed the United Nations on the topic of “Gender, Science, and Technology.” She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize and Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work on Gendered Innovations (genderedinnovations.stanford.edu) harnesses the creative power of sex and gender analysis to enhance excellence and reproducibility in science and technology. More info can be found here. https://web.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/schiebinger.html
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