Women were actively excluded from participating in most clinical trials. Why? Because of the persistent idea that female hormonal cycles were too difficult to manage in experiments — including the fear of harming potential pregnancies — and that using only one sex would reduce variation in results. This exclusion of females in health research wasn’t just limited to humans. It extended to research on female animals, cells, and tissue. Researchers assumed that they could simply extrapolate their male-only study results to females, a dangerous precedent that overlooked fundamental differences between women and men.
Sex: Refers to the classification of living things, generally as male or female, according to their reproductive organs and functions assigned by chromosomal complement.
Gender: Refers to the social, cultural, and environmental influences on the biological factors of women or men. Gender is rooted in biology and shaped by environment and experience.
The biological differences between women and men go beyond basic anatomy. Researchers must consider sex differences down to the cellular level in order to discover crucial information about the varied development, function, and biology between women and men.