Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Gulizia, Madison. 2023. A History of the Representation of Women in Clinical Trial: Implications for Modern Health Care. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Madison Gulizia 2023.


The male body is the medical baseline for all things regarding health care. Whether it is education or an actual trip to the doctor’s office, female bodies are still viewed as the “smaller male body.” The physiological differences in the male and female body range from the cellular level to whole body systems. These differences can mean millions of different things, depending on what avenue of discussion is taken. There are differences in the ways genes are expressed, leading to a variety in metabolic pathways, the digestive system, and the nervous system. A specific area that requires attention is the way in which medication is effective in the human body. Unfortunately for many years, and still ongoing, medications were tested in regards to only the male body. Having biologically female research participants was not required for funding from major institutions until 1993. This has left women out of the history of medicine and research in drastic ways. The implications of this exclusion are enormous due to the fact that it negatively impacts women’s health today. Many medications created and approved before this benchmark are still on the shelves today and are commonly taken by the American population. By finding the biological differences between men and women, analyzing the inclusion of women in clinical trial research, diving into issues with common medications and looking for ways to improve, the climate of women’s health today can be better understood. This understanding can hopefully lead to a world where “women’s health” does not need a separate classification to be considered “health.”