Feminism, gender medicine and beyond: a feminist analysis of "gender medicine"

Ayelet Shai, Shahar Koffler, Yael Hashiloni-Dolev

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The feminist women’s health movement empowered women’s knowledge regarding their health and battled against paternalistic and oppressive practices within healthcare systems. Gender Medicine (GM) is a new discipline that studies the effect of sex/gender on general health. The international society for gender medicine (IGM) was embraced by the FDA and granted funds by the European Union to formulate policies for medical practice and research. We conducted a review of IGM publications and policy statements in scientific journals and popular media. We found that while biological differences between men and women are emphasized, the impact of society on women is under- represented. The effect of gender-related violence, race, ethnic conflicts, poverty, immigration and discrimination on women’s health is seldom recognized. Contrary to feminist practice, GM is practiced by physicians and scientists, neglecting voices of other disciplines and of women themselves. In this article we show that while GM may promote some aspects of women’s health, at the same time it reaffirms conservative positions on sex and gender that can serve to justify discrimination and disregard the impact of society on women’s lives and health. An alternative approach, that integrates feminist thinking and practices into medical science, practice and policies is likely to result in a deep and beneficiary change in women’s health worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Article number177
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 3 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Feminism
  • Gender medicine
  • Sex/gender medicine
  • Sexual abuse
  • women’s health
  • women’s health movement


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