How does gender differ medically from gender?

About the difference between the sexes - in medicine

Gender and gender medicine are often understood as one and the same. Gender in language and the medical research area gender medicine may have similar goals, but for different motives and backgrounds.


Gender in medicine

Doctors who speak gender-sensitive and use the gender gap, for example, do not automatically deal with gender medicine. However, by speaking to the Gap, they are promoting awareness that there is a wide range of genders.

We have the Lecture "Gender and Medicine" by the doctor and scientist Dr. med. Amma Yeboah at the University of Cologne and summarized their current results and views. In the introduction she emphasized that the topic still has the potential to become an explosive today. We were positively surprised that she consistently uses the gender gap in the lecture and in her everyday language.


For a long time there were only two genders in medicine

From a medical point of view, a clear differentiation between female and male is not always possible. The fact that there are further variations between the sexes has arrived in medicine. In the meantime, there is conscious talk of a “gender spectrum”.

Today, gender is determined based on several characteristics and not just a quick look at the genitals. Gender can be recognized by: chromosomes, cells, external and internal sex organs, hormones, physical characteristics and psychological behavior.

The new awareness of the diversity of the sexes through research has positive effects on our social coexistence, but also on the development and handling of diseases.


Gender medicine broadens the view

Gender medicine has been a research field at the Charité in Berlin for 15 years. The Institute for Gender Research deals with the development, course, diagnosis and therapy of diseases - based on the spectrum of the sexes. For example, doctors found that men and women react differently to medication; some drugs do not work as effectively as they should on women. That's because most studies have only been done on men for a long time. Gender medicine works to ensure that there are more female and diverse test subjects. The aim of gender medicine is to provide the best medical care for all genders.

Gender medicine and gender in language therefore have very clear similarities - the foresight and the awareness that there are more genders in our society than just female and male. In relation to the history and the one-sided research with male subjects, the advocates of gender medicine demand a closer look at women and gender mainstreaming.


More information on the topic

Gender Studies, University of Cologne

Gender Medicine Charité

Working group of women's and gender research institutions in Berlin universities