NIH is committed to improving health by supporting the rigorous science that drives medical advances. Sex/gender influence health and disease, and considering these factors in research informs the development of prevention strategies and treatment interventions for both men and women.
"Sex" refers to biological differences between females and males, including chromosomes, sex organs, and endogenous hormonal profiles. "Gender" refers to socially constructed and enacted roles and behaviors which occur in a historical and cultural context and vary across societies and over time. All individuals act in many ways that fulfill the gender expectations of their society. With continuous interaction between sex and gender, health is determined by both biology and the expression of gender.
Including women and diverse populations in research is not just a matter of enrolling women and diverse populations in clinical studies but requires changing norms of how research is designed, long before a volunteer signs up for a study.
Accordingly, NIH is calling on scientists to take a deliberate approach in considering sex and gender in research to make sure that women and men get the full benefit of medical research. By instructing researchers to take these factors into account as they develop their research questions, design experiments, analyze data, and report results, NIH continues to deliver the kind of rigorous science that drives the medical advances we need.