Sex & Gender as Biological Variables
Does the historic sex bias in neuroscience and biomedical research still exist? How can we integrate sex and gender to improve human health? The sexually dimorphic brain, similar to most sex differences, does not fall into a hard binary readout—but rather is on a continuum or spectrum with each cell and each brain region comprised of varying degrees of ‘male’ and ‘female’ (Hines, 2005; Joel and McCarthy, 2016). Sex and gender are therefore important variables to consider when designing studies and assessing results within biomedical research. This lecture will look at how some publications and research policies in the US, Canada and Europe have shaped a new way of thinking and what efforts already have been made by funding organisations, peer-reviewed journals and universities to advance consistent sex and gender analysis within the research community. It will look at how selected publications can illustrate this move away from a strict binary view of how sex/gender is manifested in the brain and the future challenges surrounding the establishment of SABV. By raising awareness from the biological perspective we may contribute to building a society where individuals identifying themselves in between the labels of male and female feel included rather than discriminated.