PENNSYLVANIA: The fact that there are relatively few women in research poses a clear problem of representation, but in some areas it even induces methodological biases.
A study published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, conducted by a group of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, shows that the dearth of women as heads of cardiology research studies may translate directly into the composition of panels of individuals studied.
The study, which reviewed publications in cardiovascular research between 2001 and 2016, highlighted some significant figures about the gender of participants in clinical trials.
While the male/female ratio remains unequal with the number of male participants outnumbering female participants, when clinical trials were led by women (around 15% of the studies), the number of women participants was greater.
The authors suggest two potential hypotheses to account for this observation: either women may be more inclined to participate in a trial conducted by a woman, or the women leading the trials are more likely to recommend and recruit women for inclusion in their research.
In either case, such disparity at the time of research can have serious consequences for half of the population and how their cardiovascular issues are treated.
The study authors advocate for eliminating these disparities in the world of research by “including more women in leadership positions and increasing the mentorship of women across career stages in medicine.”