Sex & Gender Considerations in Research


But what exactly does that mean?

We attended the CIHR Sex & Gender workshop, and this is what we learned!

What is the difference between sex & gender?

  • Sex = biological characteristics
  • Gender = cultural attitudes and behaviours

Why should you include considerations for sex & gender in your research?

  • Sex and gender affect everyone
  • Women are historically under-represented in health research
  • Men’s health is not a proxy for women’s health
  • It results in better science

How can you include sex & gender considerations in your research?

  • Discuss the differences in disease prevalence
  • Discuss relevant sex & gender research gaps
  • If the objective includes both men & women, make that explicit
  • Increase the sample size to allow for reporting of sex & gender differences
  • Discuss gendered considerations in recruitment strategies
  • Add a sex & gender question on your questionnaire
  • Include sex & gender in your analysis strategy
  • Customize your KT plan by sex & gender

There are many reasons why sex & gender considerations may not be applicable to your research question, such as when studying diseases that affect only one sex, addressing a significant gender gap in research, or when the data just isn’t available.  However, a clear justification is necessary and creativity is encouraged.


By Heather Noga, Research Coordinator