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Prepared at the proposal of CICFEM22 by FORO EMAKUMEAK MEDIKUNTZAN (Forum of Women in Medicine). 


Women and men have the same rights in health and should receive adequate health care that takes into account the effect of sex and gender factors in the approach to diseases. Conventional medicine, and related health areas, have as a reference an androcentric model that does not sufficiently consider the effect of these factors in the incidence, symptomatology, evolution, diagnosis and treatment of women's diseases, which seriously harms their health. This means that the health problems of women, girls and vulnerable groups, especially those with different characteristics in women and men, are not adequately addressed, focusing all interest on the sexual and reproductive organs.


Women's diseases must be adequately treated, taking into account how the same disease can have different incidences, symptoms, evolution, diagnosis and treatment in men and women. The therapeutic effort must be equivalent to that made in the case of men and consider the testimony of women, the symptoms reported and the pain a reflection of a disease and not a psychosomatic or social problem.


Women have the right to have scientific knowledge generated about their biological processes and diseases by being included as objects of study in clinical trials and research projects and taken into account as scientists and creators of that knowledge. The data obtained should be disaggregated by sex in order to reach adequate conclusions that represent the reality of women. This knowledge should be included in the curricula of the areas of Health Sciences in order to train professionals with the capacity to adequately address women's diseases and not develop their professional practice guided by stereotypes and ignorance of the differences. 


Women have the right to be named as such and to be made visible as patients and health professionals through the use of inclusive language and non-sexist images free of stereotypes both in written texts and in audiovisual media frequently used for health campaigns.


Sex and gender blindness in teaching, research and clinical practice produces the following effects:


  • Overgeneralization of women's experiences from men's experiences and thus misrepresentation of the symptomatology and evolution of diseases in women if they deviate from the male model. This causes underdiagnosis of diseases such as COVID-19 where the symptomatology in women is frequently gastrointestinal or myocardial infarction that usually presents with a different referred pain and is accompanied by a variety of symptoms more typical in women.

  • Invisibilization of the reality of women and girls. Women are not subjects of study, nor are we represented as scientists or professionals in clinical practice.  Violence against women is also hidden, as is the case of physical and/or verbal violence in health and obstetric care.

  • Turning stages of women's and girls' lives into diseases such as the menstrual cycle, menopause or pregnancy.

  • Explaining differences based on stereotypes. Cataloging the symptoms of women's diseases as psychosocial problems and not as diseases. Medicine applied to women is a "bikini medicine" focused only on sexual and reproductive organs.

  • Misrepresentation of scientific evidence to justify differences such as viruses respecting women when, for example, AIDS is the leading cause of death in young women worldwide and persistent HIV infection affects more women than men. 


In conclusion, it is necessary to incorporate both biological differences (anatomical, physiological, genetic, immune response, etc.) and those linked to gender (roles and activities, access to and control of resources, patterns and expectations and subjective identity) into all processes related to the area of health in the firm belief, as already considered in the Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, in the dignity and value of the human person and the equal rights of men and women and that without them social progress and sustainable development of humanity will not be possible.

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