Sex and gender terminology: a glossary for gender-inclusive epidemiology

J Epidemiol Community Health. 2022 Jun 20:jech-2022-219171. doi: 10.1136/jech-2022-219171. Online ahead of print.


There is increased interest in inclusion, diversity and representativeness in epidemiological and community health research. Despite this progress, misunderstanding and conflation of sex and gender have precluded both the accurate description of sex and gender as sample demographics and their inclusion in scientific enquiry aiming to distinguish health disparities due to biological systems, gendered experiences or their social and environmental interactions. The present glossary aims to define and improve understanding of current sex-related and gender-related terminology as an important step to gender-inclusive epidemiological research. Effectively, a proper understanding of sex, gender and their subtleties as well as acknowledgement and inclusion of diverse gender identities and modalities can make epidemiology not only more equitable, but also more scientifically accurate and representative. In turn, this can improve public health efforts aimed at promoting the well-being of all communities and reducing health inequities.