It's becoming well known that there is a [[Gender Data Gap|gender data gap]] in research that has been previously conducted. But why has this been happening?
- [[#1. Protection of unborn foetuses|1. Protection of unborn foetuses]]
- [[#2. Women are too complex|2. Women are too complex]]
- [[#3. Men were viewed as adequate proxies|3. Men were viewed as adequate proxies]]
### 1. Protection of unborn foetuses
Firstly, it is worth noting that, historically, medical trials were primarily conducted on men as a precautionary measure to avoid any potential harm to unborn fetuses in women.
### 2. Women are too complex
Secondly, women have not been studied due to being "too complex". Women are perceived as more "physiologically variable", and so using only male subjects would "allow meaningful results with fewer participants and less funding."(Bruinvels et al., 2017)
As Elliott-Sale et al., (2021) concluded,
> "...for decades scientists have avoided conducting sport and exercise research with women as participants due, in part, to the complex methodological considerations required and/or the difficulty in interpreting the heterogeneic results often observed within and among studies."
### 3. Men were viewed as adequate proxies
Thirdly, and what underlies both of these points, is that "men were viewed as adequate proxies for women", and so the years of females being excluded from research were considered "inconsequential".
Thus, women have been viewed as small men. So why should researchers need to bother themselves with all the extra work and money that was involved in studying them?
## Women are not small men
What has come to light in recent years is that women are *not* small men, and research findings that are based on male participants are neither applicable nor generalisable to women.
Hence, it is simply not appropriate to continue to exclude women from research, especially on the basis of convenience or cost.[^1]
- Bruinvels, G. _et al._ (2017) ‘Sport, exercise and the menstrual cycle: where is the research?’, _British Journal of Sports Medicine_, 51(6), pp. 487–488. Available at: [https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2016-096279](https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2016-096279).
- Elliott-Sale, K.J. _et al._ (2021) ‘Methodological Considerations for Studies in Sport and Exercise Science with Women as Participants: A Working Guide for Standards of Practice for Research on Women.’, _Sports Med_, 51(5), pp. 843–861. Available at: [LINK](https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01435-8).
[^1]: Women can be "more expensive than men to study due to the extra time (e.g., repeated measures across a menstrual cycle) and resources (e.g., blood samples for the determination of ovarian steroid levels) needed to produce high-quality data." (Elliott-Sale et al., 2021)