Why Are Women Underrepresented in Health Research? – Nona Woman
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Why Are Women Underrepresented in Health Research?

The exclusion of women from several studies, especially health studies, results in minimal health information about them. This happens far too often because of the influence of history, culture, and systems that intimidate women in the process of scientific research. 

However, in this decade there have been many changes to the classification of scientific research. The classification contains requirements that must be met by researchers before making a clinical study. This is certainly a positive change, especially for scientific studies on women. 

Why Are Women Underrepresented In Scientific Research? 

In the 20th century, there were limitations in scientific studies. This is because, in the 1940s to 1970s, a drug was prescribed to women to treat various ailments, although these drugs did not yet have licenses about the negative effects they cause, as well as licenses for public use. These drugs include thalidomide and diethylstilbestrol. 

Thousands of pregnant women consumed these drugs and most had babies with severe limb deformities. Responding to this, countries in the world started to rearrange the way of treatment, especially the licensing of drug distribution. 

Lead author and study assistantpProfessor in the Department of Global Health and Sports Science at George Washington University, Emily R Smith, said that currently a research study was conducted regarding the nutritional fulfillment of pregnant women. The researchers did this because until now, there is very little information regarding nutritional recommendations for pregnant women. 

Smith and team also found that, in nearly 23 percent of the studies, only men were participants. In addition, in a research study that has advanced technology, it is also very unlikely to include women as research participants. 

Smith also said that the main reason why women were not involved in health research, such as vaccine trials or nutrition trials, was simply to protect them. But in fact, this actually results in a lack of information about nutrition, vaccines, and treatment for women. 

In addition, Parul Christian, Director of the Human Nutrition Program at Johns Hopkins University, said that in general, scientific knowledge about the needs of essential nutrients in humans tends to be incomplete and cannot be generalized. Where this makes the health of pregnant and lactating women in the next generation enter a critical stage. This condition is also getting worse when the researchers do not take into account the status of race, background, and geography. 

In this case, Smith and Christian are trying to urge scientists to involve women in a health study. In addition they also asked to include a lot of health research on pregnant and lactating women.

Why Is It Important To Involve Women In Research? 

Perhaps a question has crossed our minds, why is it so important to involve women in health research? Because it makes us know better, that some diseases can affect women's health more than men. 

An example is heart disease which is the leading cause of death for men. This is because most research on heart disease is focused on men. Thus researchers missed the gender difference. For example, women have more cases of heart disease than previously thought. 

In addition, some studies also miss how heart disease occurs. For example, when heart disease attacks men, they only feel pain in the chest. While in women, they feel pain that radiates to the back, neck, and left arm. 

The lack of information on this matter will delay the handling of cases of diseases that attack women. 

References

https://www.republika.co.id/berita/r21h3n463/minimnya-penelitian-terkait-wanita-dan ibu-hamil

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