[Gender inequalities in research in public health and epidemiology in Spain (2007-2014)]

Gac Sanit. Nov-Dec 2015;29(6):404-11. doi: 10.1016/j.gaceta.2015.07.013. Epub 2015 Sep 26.
[Article in Spanish]


Objective: To analyse gender inequalities in research on public health and epidemiology in Spain for the period 2007-2014.

Method: A descriptive study was conducted by sex of leadership positions in the Centre for Biomedical Research Network (CIBER), especially in the subject area of epidemiology and public health (CIBERESP) in 2014; scientific societies of public health (SESPAS) and epidemiology (SEE) 2009-2014; research projects requested (13,320) and financed (4,699), and monetary amounts of calls for Strategic Action in Health (AES), 2007-2013.

Results: Women were clearly under-represented in positions of leadership and in research excellence in public health (CIBER), with a predominance of men in decision-making positions. Although research projects led by women in AES increased slightly between 2007 and 2013, among proposed projects this figure was less than 50%, with the exception of the public health commission. The gender gap was even greater in funded projects. Projects led by men were more likely to be funded, representing 29% in public health. There was also a persistence of horizontal gender segregation in positions of scientific recognition in the SESPAS and SEE Congresses.

Conclusions: The overrepresentation of male leaders in public health research in Spain can be understood as an indicator and a consequence of androcentrism in scientific societies and professional groups. This sexist situation threatens the existence of innovative products and services from a gender perspective that respond to the needs and demands of society as a whole. More women are needed in research incorporating this perspective.

Keywords: Desigualdades; Epidemiology; Epidemiología; España; Gender; Género; Inequalities; Investigación; Public health; Research; Salud pública; Spain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Contracts / statistics & numerical data
  • Decision Making
  • Epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Male
  • Public Health*
  • Research Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
  • Research Support as Topic
  • Sexism*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spain