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Exploring Sex and Gender in Science - Cell

Author: Cell Press
Author Contact: cell.com
Published: 14th Mar 2024
Peer-Reviewed Publication: N/A
Additional References: LGBTQ+ News Publications

Summary: Cell issue on sex and gender in science includes a collection of articles on topics related to strategies for promoting gender equality in academia, enhancing rigor in the study of sex-related variables, and supporting transgender researchers.


Main Document

Cell, the flagship biology journal of Cell Press, presents a landmark issue on sex and gender in science. It includes a collection of articles on topics related to strategies for promoting gender equality in academia, enhancing rigor in the study of sex-related variables, and supporting transgender researchers. The special content, scheduled to appear online on March 14, 2024, also discusses the past, present, and future of research on sex and gender.

To mark the occasion, Cell Press's parent company, Elsevier, is announcing updated guidelines on reporting sex and gender-based analyses (SGBA), inspired by the Sex and Gender Equity in Research (SAGER) guidelines, which were implemented across all Cell Press and Lancet journals, and nearly 2,300 Elsevier journals in 2023.

Elsevier's SGBA guidelines support equitable and impactful science by encouraging researchers to use precise language and definitions in their work, ensure samples are sufficiently representative and inclusive to support robust conclusions, and avoid inappropriate generalizations. For example, study authors are asked to use more precise terms like "sex assigned at birth" over vague and ambiguous ones, like "biological sex."

"Discussions that steer us away from outmoded binary notions of sex and gender are much needed," says Isabel Goldman, MD, a Cell Leading Edge editor and Cell Press's previous diversity equity and inclusion lead. "In the span of a year, our journals' information for authors went from containing disparate, little, or no information on sex and gender to presenting unified state-of-the-art guidelines across thousands of titles."

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This image depicts the cover of Cell's focus issue on sex and gender.This image depicts the cover of Cell's focus issue on sex and gender - Art by Phillip Krzeminski - CC BY-SA.

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Included in the Cell Focus Issue

Rigorous Science Demands Support of Transgender Scientists

This landmark commentary from 24 transgender (and/or family members of trans) scientists explores the experiences of sex and gender minorities in STEMM and why addressing systemic barriers that they face will lead not only to just, equitable, and diverse research departments, but also to more rigorous science.

"When cis and trans people alike challenge sex and gender essentialism, we enshrine bodily autonomy and intellectual freedom. When we build institutions and systems to support all who contribute, we move to rectify scientific inequity and injustice," write the authors.

Sex Contextualism in Laboratory Research: Enhancing Rigor and Precision in the Study of Sex-Related Variables

This perspective article documents how the first step toward better understanding sex-related variation in health and disease is to acknowledge that sex per se is not a biological variable or causal mechanism. Instead, it is a "classification system" with categories that encompass an array of varying and overlapping traits. The authors urge researchers to move "beyond sex as a system of classification" and toward "working with concrete and measurable sex-related variables" and to employ rigorous sex-based analyses to support robust research conclusions.

The History of Sex Research: Is Sex a Useful Category?

This Benchmark explore the multiplicity of sex definitions throughout the history of sex-based research, which has caused it to mean "just about everything, and therefore also nearly nothing," writes author Beans Velocci, PhD, an assistant professor of history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania. As such, the term "sex" often functions as a binary, categorical variable that captures many distinct traits and characteristics. It has functioned historically to uphold social systems. Dr. Velocci argues that improving sex and gender research will require a cross-disciplinary approach.

Closing the Scissor Shaped Curve: Strategies to Promote Gender Equality in Academia

Institutional gender inequality manifests as a "progressive decline in the representation of women at successive stages of the scientific and academic career trajectory," write researchers at the University of Lausanne in this commentary. The authors examine data-driven initiatives related to hiring, mentoring, funding, culture, and maternity leave that they have implemented at their university to combat the scissor-shaped curve in STEMM, which sees men many more times likely to attain full professorship than women.

Q&A's with Shirin Heidari and Londa Schiebinger

The focus issue features two exclusive researcher interviews:

The Future of Sex and Gender in Research

In this Voices article, eight scientists talk about interdisciplinary collaboration, moving beyond binary conceptualizations, and expanding research on sex-related differences and sex's dynamic nature.

"Science's rigid commitment to binary sex and gender quashes creativity and limits progress." says Elle Lett, PhD. "What if, instead, we imagined a world where society's baggage didn't encumber scientific conceptualization?"

References and Source(s):

Exploring Sex and Gender in Science - Cell | Cell Press (cell.com). SexualDiversity.org makes no warranties or representations in connection therewith. Content may have been edited for style, clarity or length.

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• (APA): Cell Press. (2024, March 14). Exploring Sex and Gender in Science - Cell. SexualDiversity.org. Retrieved May 19, 2024 from www.sexualdiversity.org/news/1196.php


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