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Bronwyn Graham | Women in medicine: the forgotten characters

Illustration of rats and mice in an old school lecture hall

When scientists fail to examine how treatments operate differently in males and females, we all lose, every one of us.

Bronwyn Graham

Historically, periods of forced isolation have served as catalysts for enormous human achievements. William Shakespeare composed his best sonnets and plays, Isaac Newton developed his most influential theories… but behind every genius is often an invisible woman who history has forgotten. Unfortunately, history isn’t the only place women are overlooked. When you receive a vaccine, or take antibiotics, you assume that the intervention is going to be both safe and effective for everyone – but for women, this assumption can be false. Most clinical trials do not conduct even a cursory examination of sex differences in safety or efficacy, so why do we continue to relegate women into the background?

Bronwyn Graham is an Associate Professor of Psychology at UNSW Science. Bronwyn’s research focuses on how sex hormones influence the development and treatment of anxiety disorders in women. Her work has been the first to show how unique female traits – the contraceptive pill, motherhood – influence the success of anxiety treatment. Graham was awarded the 2020 Aubrey Lewis Award for outstanding researcher by the Biological Psychiatry Australia Society.

Twitter: @BronwynM_Graham

A UNSW Centre for Ideas and Grand Challenges program collaboration.

Illustrations designed by Juune Lee. Filmed and edited by Paper Moose. Footage filmed at the EPICentre, a UNSW research centre located at the Art & Design campus.

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