Be the fairest of them all: challenges and recommendations for the treatment of gender in occupational health research

Am J Ind Med. 2003 Jun;43(6):618-29. doi: 10.1002/ajim.10225.


Background: Both women's and men's occupational health problems merit scientific attention. Researchers need to consider the effect of gender on how occupational health issues are experienced, expressed, defined, and addressed. More serious consideration of gender-related factors will help identify risk factors for both women and men.

Methods: The authors, who come from a number of disciplines (ergonomics, epidemiology, public health, social medicine, community psychology, economics, sociology) pooled their critiques in order to arrive at the most common and significant problems faced by occupational health researchers who wish to consider gender appropriately.

Results: This paper describes some ways that gender can be and has been handled in studies of occupational health, as well as some of the consequences. The paper also suggests specific research practices that avoid errors. Obstacles to gender-sensitive practices are considered.

Conclusions: Although gender-sensitive practices may be difficult to operationalize in some cases, they enrich the scientific quality of research and should lead to better data and ultimately to well-targeted prevention programs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Occupational Health*
  • Research Design*
  • Sex Factors*