Anatomical Sciences Education
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Are stereotypes in decline? The portrayal of female anatomy in e‐learning

Publication Date Aug 3, 2022

Abstract

Sex and gender bias in anatomy learning materials are considered a "hidden obstacle" to gender equity in medical curricula. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether quantitative sex and gender biases do exist in popular anatomy e-learning platforms and compare the results with those found in contemporary textbooks and atlases. A systematic content-analysis was performed on N = 3,767 images published from 2008 to 2021 in which sex/gender could be identified by considering technical aspects of illustration and various intersectional categories. E-learning platforms took into account an appropriate representation of the female body and presented even more females (n = 932/1,412; 66%), more frequently from a ventral/anterior (χ2 = 26, P < 0.001) and whole-body perspective (χ2 = 27, P < 0.001). This was in contrast to German anatomy books, where the results pointed to a significant sex and gender bias. For example, all books assessed underrepresented females (n = 707/2,355; 30%) and placed them in stereotypical sex-specific context (χ2 = 348, P < 0.001), showing them more often from a caudal/inferior (χ2 = 99, p< 0.001) and internal (χ2 = 132, P < 0.001) perspective. Altogether, the visual representation of sex and gender in anatomical curricula is still biased and the stereotypical perceptions of human anatomy seem to be a global issue. However, the increasing use of electronic learning platforms which gradually replace traditional books is changing the way the male and female body is depicted, which might offer new ...

Concepts

Gender Bias Intersectional Categories Contemporary Textbooks Systematic Content-analysis Sex Bias E-learning Platforms Anatomy Education Significant Sex Bias Significant Gender Bias Female Body

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