Adding Sex-and-Gender Dimensions to Your Research

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In recent decades, policymakers, research organizations, and funders of science have made efforts to increase the participation of women in science teams, leadership roles, and evaluation panels. More recently, journals and funders have turned their attention to sex-and-gender aspects of the content of research. Early-career scientists have much to gain from embracing this trend, including an increased chance of getting published and an edge when applying for research funds.

But embracing the trend requires a shift in the way research is done. First, scientists must recognize that including a sex or gender dimension in their research is possible and useful. Then they must use adequate methods to design their studies, analyze their data, and report their results. This is likely to require extra time and resources, but researchers promoting the initiative argue it is worth the effort. "It's a really powerful way to see new things," says Londa Schiebinger, a science historian at Stanford University in California.  Schiebinger directs a project called "Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering, and Environment." Funded by Stanford University, the U.S. National Science Foundation, and the European Commission, among others, the project aims to encourage and equip scientists to rethink their work under a sex-and-gender-conscious lens.

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