Encyclopedia of Reproductive Technologies

By Annette Burfoot | Go to book overview
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nine
New Reproductive
Technologies--
Women and Science

SUE ROSSER

Since the late 1970s feminist historians, philosophers of science, and feminist scientists have pointed out areas of gender bias in science, particularly biology. Once the possibility for androcentric bias was discovered, feminist scholars (including scientists) set out to explore the extent to which it had distorted science. They recognized potential distortion on a variety of levels of research and theory: the choice and definition of problems to be studied, exclusion of females as experimental subjects, preconceptions in methodology used to collect and interpret data, and bias in theories and conclusions drawn from the data. They also began to realize that since the practice of modern medicine depends heavily on clinical research, any flaws and ethical problems flowing from gender bias in this research are likely to result in inequity in medical treatment that results in poorer health care in disadvantaged groups.

An aspect of medical research of particular concern for women's health is reproduction. The new reproductive technologies have been criticized because of their potential physical and psychological health risks for women and because they provide men with more control over reproduction. In addition, having a huge preponderance of male leaders sets the priorities for medical research, clearly affecting the choice and definition of problems for research. Research on conditions specific to females tends

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