Gender Bias and the Ongoing Need to Acknowledge Women’s Pain

Published 8/7/18

Many women who suffer from chronic pain conditions say their pain has not been believed or taken seriously by family, friends, and even health care providers. In this commentary for Practical Pain Management, SWHR President and CEO Amy M. Miller, PhD, describes how sex and gender bias in medicine has its roots in the way research was conducted for centuries — by simply assuming women’s biology was the same as men’s and excluding women from research.

As recently as 25 years ago, women of reproductive age were actively excluded from most clinical trials. Researchers feared possible harm to potential pregnancies and thought that female hormonal cycles were too challenging to manage in experiments. Because of this exclusion, we are facing a huge gap in knowledge about women’s health.

Miller says one of SWHR’s goals is to end this alarming bias.


Learn about SWHR’s work in pain conditions like migraine and endometriosis.