Gender Medicine: What has sex got to do with it?

re:publica 2016


Sex- and gender-specific medicine (SGSM) is a young field that managed to recently establish itself all over the world. Though mostly called gender medicine it actually investigates sex specific differences of the two most prominent sexes: male and female. There are also aspects of the gender identity that impact the interaction of doctors and patients, as well as coping strategies, treatment suggestions and side effects of medication The following aspects will be presented in this talk: Where does this area of research come from? What does it actually do? Why is it important for women and men? And when is it appropriate to talk about sex and when to talk about gender?


The net is constantly changing and the spread of knowledge is amazing. Giving you the opportunity to build networks with communities far away from your current position. These connections also bring forth that new scientific areas can develop, interact and spread throughout the world. Sex and gender specific medicine is one of those areas. Sex- and gender-specific medicine (SGSM) is a young field that managed to recently develop all over the world; originating in most cases from women studies.

For the longest time male scientists have studied male bodies and often applied this knowledge to the female body, resulting in a number of biased results.

For example the heart attack: in many cardiology books it is defined with the cardinal symptom: chestpain, possibly radiating towards the left shoulder, arm and neck. Additionally a strong feeling of discomfort is mentioned as well, most readers will probably recognize this description. Unfortunately many women (and some men) suffer from nausea, back pain, exhaustion or tiredness only. Sometimes, the defined core symptom (chest pain) is missing, hence:  few will recognize the life threatening situation behind these symptoms.

This presentation will summarize the history of SGSM and its ideas to show where the bias in medical knowledge originates and why and how structural inequality of the sexes is still being reproduced. Closing with some examples of sex and gender differences for diseases.

Stage 7
Mittwoch, 4. Mai 2016 - 13:00 bis 13:30




Physical therapist & Research assitant
Charité Berlin