How do researchers view sex and gender differences in research? An analysis of the strategies for female enrollment and retention in medical research.
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Background: In recent years, multiple studies have been conducted regarding the necessity of including both sexes in medical research. This dissertation analyses the point of view on the subject from the prospective of 12 researchers active at a University Medical Center in the Netherlands. The Research Questions: How do researchers view sex and gender differences in research (1), and which are the strategies for female enrollment and retention in medical research (2)? were answered. Methods: In-dept semi-structured interviews were performed by asking questions about researchers’ perspective on sex and gender differences in medical research, obstacles in different research phases, as well as enrollment and retention strategies. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Results: Researchers reported being aware of the importance of including sex and gender differences in research. Although, researchers report that less is known about gender and dropout reasons. Researchers noted that obstacles exist and try to tackle them by implementing certain strategies. There were strategies implemented by certain medical departments that were more successful than others. However, some researchers noted no activate strategies to overcome obstacles. Overall, my results matched prior literature. Conclusions: this study highlights the knowledge gaps that are still present in research regarding the enrollment and retention of women in medical research. To close the gap and guarantee better outcomes and health to all sexes and genders multiple strategies must be activated. All stakeholders need to collaborate to achieve a common goal: equality in female and male ratio in medical research.
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