Sex and Gender In Research

A patient’s biological sex and/or gender is often a neglected factor in biomedical research. Yet in order to understand differences in the emergence and progression of diseases and to develop suitable treatments, it is important for such research to take sex and gender differences into account. Considering sex and gender aspects adds a valuable dimension to research and makes sure that everyone gets the best medical treatment. 

Several funding agencies, such as the European Union or the DFG and also some bio/medical journals are required to integrate sex and gender aspects into research projects.

BIH Excellence Award for Sex and Gender Aspects in Health Research

With the aim to bring more visibility to sex and gender issues in translational research BIH announced the BIH Excellence Award for Sex and Gender Aspects in Health Research for the first time in 2017. It recognizes research excellence among renowned scientists working in the field of basic and/or clinical biomedical research with a focus on sex and gender aspects.


Below you can find links to initiatives and organizations dedicated to sex and gender in research.

Charité - Institute of Gender in Medicine

Gender Differences in Research and Education

The aim of the Institute for Gender in Medicine is the systematic investigation of gender differences in health and disease, its introduction into the study and the development and implementation of gender-sensitive strategies in health care.

Canadian Institute of Health

Here you can find tools from the Canadian Institute of Gender and Health to better integrate sex and gender into research by their Sex and Gender-Based Analysis (SGBA). Take a look at their action plan and learn how CIHR is meeting its commitments to SGBA.



Check out their new video:  Assessing Sex and Gender in Peer Review


the first European Research Area Network (ERA-NET) to be dedicated to the promotion of gender equality

A pilot transnational research policy initiative funded by the European Commission under the Science in Society work program of the seventh Framework Program (FP7), developed an Online IGAR Tool : Recommendations for I ntegrating G ender A nalysis into R esearch: 


Gender Diversity Impact- GEDII

Improving research and innovation through gender diversity

Funded by the European Union under the program Horizon 2020, GEDII looks to study the impact of gender diversity on research productivity, quality and innovation which is very unevenly evidenced.



Gendered Innovations

A program which aims to harness the creative power of gender and gender analysis for innovation and discovery. Read more here.


Reccomendations of the DFG on the relevance of Sex, Gender and Diversity in Research

In some research projects, taking sex, gender and diversity dimensions into account can prevent 'blind spots' and thus enhance the scientific quality of the results. Reflection on sex, gender and diversity (the latter also sometimes referred to as ‘intersectionality’) should therefore be part of the preparation stage for every project and, where relevant, discussed in the proposal.

Sex, gender and diversity are not of equal relevance in all projects. The importance of these dimensions will vary depending on the research context, topic and methods.

You can find checklists, examples and definitions at: Link

The SAGER Guidelines: Sex and Gender Matter

BIH endorses the Sex And Gender Equity in Research (SAGER) guidelines written by the Gender Policy Committee of the European Association of Science Editors. See the below infographic available for download.

See here for an article outlining the rationale for the SAGER guidelines and recommended use, published in Research Integrity and Peer Review, an international, open access, peer reviewed journal.

Heidari, S., Babor, T. F., De Castro, P., Tort, S., & Curno, M. (2016). Sex and gender equity in research: rationale for the SAGER guidelines and recommended use. Research Integrity and Peer Review, 1(1), 2.

More information...

Here you can find a selection of useful links about Sex and Gender in Research from the BIH, at other institutions in Berlin, and around the world.


06.11.2019 Tannenbaum, C. et. al. Article About "Sex and gender analysis improves science and Engineering"

05.28.2019  Shansky, RM. paper on: "Are hormones a" female problem "for animal research?." Science ,  364 (6443), 825-826.

13.05.2019 Pawlowski, A. The invisible woman? The challenge at the doctor's office every woman needs to know about. Today. 

"A pervasive gender bias in medicine leads female patients to be misdiagnosed or dismissed as complainers. Meet the doctors fighting for change."

09.02.2019 Edition on "Advancing Women in Science, Medicine", and Public Health. The Lancet. Volume 393, number 10171, p493-610, e6-e28

"Sex and Gender Differences and Biases in AI for biomedicine and healthcare" Davide Cirillo et al. (2020), npj Digital Medicine, volume 3

"The Impact of Sex Differences on Genomic Research" S. Oertelt-Prigione, E. Mariman (2020), iJBCB, Volume 124

Science Open specific search engine for articles relating to sex and gender in medicine. Access here (EN).

''Sex differences in pharmacokinetics predict adverse drug reaction in women'' - Irving Zucker and Brian J. Prendergast (2020) Biology of Sex Differences


Korsvik, T. R. & Rustad, L. M. (2018) What is the gender dimension in research: case studies in interdisciplinary research. Kilden, Lysaker, Norway. Accesible online as PDF.

GenderMed-Wiki: GenderMed-Wiki serves as an educational exchange platform on topics relating to sex and gender aspects in medicine. Access here (EN).

Videos and Postcasts

Talk given by Prof. Sabine Oertelt Prigione in the context of the LIBRA ( workshop on "Sex and Gender in Research and Experimental Design".

  • Russ Altman and Londa Schiebinger. (23.02.2019) The Future of Everything with Russ Altman:"Institutions Must Add Gender Diversity in Their Ranks and in Research with guest Londa Schiebinger" Available on Soundcloud here

Londa Schiebinger, professor of the history of science at Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences, explores the role of sex and gender in science. She explains why diverse research teams have better outcomes and why technologists must consider women from the outset.

  •  Chloe Bird, Ph.D. (06.06.2019) Advancing Understanding of Sex & Gender Influences on Health & Disease. Available on Youtube here.

Chloe Bird, Ph.D., Senior Advisor to the Director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), talks about how increasing our understanding of sex and gender influences on health and disease is critical to advancing women’s health research and improving the health of everyone. Using data from the USA. Dr. Bird clarifies the distinction between sex and gender and explores the intersection of internal, biological factors and external, contextual factors that affect health and disease across a woman’s life course. This 22-minute lecture serves as an excellent introduction to core principles and a conceptual framework that guide ORWH’s programs and initiatives to advance science for the health of women.