These studies were all “relatively small survey-based cohorts,” which leaves “the rationale behind participating or declining participation in cardiovascular clinical research a black box.” Which means that, as with an estimated 87% of the papers I read for Invisible Women, one of the major recommendations of this paper is for MORE RESEARCH TO BE DONE.
That said, there were some noteworthy findings, including that women were more likely than men to decline to participate because a) they perceived a higher risk of trial participation than men, and b) because of transportation problems.
The paper does not state which out of risk perception or transportation issues is the greater problem, but readers of Invisible Women will not be at all surprised by b). As we know, women are far more reliant than men on public transport (IW p.29); when a household has a car, men dominate access to it (IW, p.30); and women are time-poor (IW, pp.70-72). All of this affects women’s lives in myriad ways, with access to clinical trials being just one of them.
The good news is that this paper is unusual in going beyond the usual cry of sex and gender researchers for MORE G*DD*MN DATA, and actually comes up with well-thought out and quite details proposals to fix these issues. I really do urge you to read them in full
because they’re great and this is not just relevant to recruiting women to clinical trials. But in brief:
1) journals should be doing more to require researchers to recruit women and sex disaggregate their data
2) increase the diversity of research teams (readers of Invisible Women may remember a study I cited which found that the likelihood of a study involving gender and sex analysis ‘increases with the proportion of women among its authors’, with the effect being particularly pronounced if a woman serves as a leader of the author group.)
3) get sex and gender into the standard medical curriculum
[At this stage as you can imagine I am whooping and cheering]