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Article
April 26, 1995

Sex and Gender Bias in Illustrations in Anatomy and Physical Diagnosis Texts

Author Affiliations

University of Montana Missoula
University of Connecticut Health Center Farmington

JAMA. 1995;273(16):1256-1257. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520400025029
Abstract

To the Editor.  —We were intrigued by the study of sex and gender representation in selected medical textbooks done by Ms Mendelsohn and colleagues.1 The authors' conclusion that there is apparent gender bias in the physical diagnosis texts they examined is certainly supported by their documentation that only 8.8% of nonreproductive system illustrations were of women, while 23.7% were men, and 67.5% were neutral.We examined the adult sections of our own recently published text, Physical Diagnosis: Bedside Evaluation of Diagnosis and Function,2 using the criteria of Mendelsohn et al for categorizing illustrations on the basis of sex and gender. Of the nonreproductive illustrations in this text, 35% are of women, 26% are of men, and 38% are neutral.Since this textbook contains a large number of photographs of physical examination technique, examiners are visible in many of them. We also counted the gender distribution of examiners where

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