The influence of gender on health and illness is not a new topic. However, it is highly topical in social and political terms and harbours great potential for research, communication and the healthcare system as a whole.

The fact is: for many years, biological differences between women and men were ignored in medicine. For diagnoses, treatments and the development of therapies, men were regarded as the “standard human being” without taking into account the physical, hormonal or metabolic characteristics of women. The distinction between biological sex and gender as a socio-cultural factor is also still rarely realised in medicine. This still leads to misdiagnoses, inappropriate treatments or side effects of medication in female patients.

The aim of gender medicine is to take into account the gender and sex-specific differences between women and men in both research and clinical care. This enables more targeted diagnoses, more individualised treatments and better tolerated medicines for all. Only two per cent of global research funding is spent on research into women’s health. Scientific findings are still not implemented enough in practice and take a long time to find their way into medical guidelines.

Gender medicine is of great importance at a social level, particularly in the area of public health. The newly acquired specific knowledge does not only benefit the female part of the population. Rather, teaching and professional training must also be dedicated to the topic so that future generations of healthcare professionals engage in equal doctor-patient communication as a matter of course. Digital tools can also support efforts to ensure equal access to healthcare for men, women and non-binary people. An ambitious goal for this would be a gender mainstreaming approach in our healthcare system.