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April 26, 1995

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

Author Affiliations

Medical College of Pennsylvania Philadelphia
Cornell University Ithaca, NY

JAMA. 1995;273(16):1257-1258. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520400025033

In Reply.  —We undertook the examination of illustrations in anatomy and physical diagnosis texts to determine if sex and gender bias was present. Before publication of the study, many people might have believed that the number of female and male illustrations was approximately equal. However, our results showed a dramatic underrepresentation of women. In one text, as few as 4% of the illustrations in the nonreproductive chapters were of women, while 40% were of men.Our goal was that the publication of the results in JAMA would inform others about this disparity and would lead to a discussion of the findings by educators, students, publishers, and practitioners. This dialogue has begun, as is indicated by these letters. The emotional attachment to gender issues is also reflected in this correspondence. We are pleased to have provoked an open discussion about these issues, particularly as they relate to illustrations in medical texts.

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