Women representation can make a significant difference in our understanding of disease prognosis and progress. However, the representation of women continues to be inadequate across the board. A recent Penn study shows that lack of gender parity of women authors in clinical trials on heart failures affected the number of women participants. The research team was studying gender disparities in clinical trials and guideline citations on heart failure.
The team analyzed data from 2001 to 2016. They identified authors in publications that were referenced in Class I Recommendations. These included 173 American and 100 European studies. They also considered published clinical trials on heart failure, identifying 118 trials with a total of 400 participants. The team examined the genders of the authors and the pattern of change in authorship over the time period.
On average, the proportion of women authors referenced as the first author in HF guidelines was 18 percent in the US and 16 percent in Europe. As the last author, these numbers were 13 percent and 12 percent respectively. The proportion changed only modestly in this time period. The numbers were similarly low in case of clinical trials, at 16 percent.
Interestingly, women authors were associated with higher female participation in trials (39 percent Vs 29 percent). The authors of the study called for more women authors in clinical trials and studies, especially since it could lead to higher participation by women.