Letters

Trends in sex differences in mortality from heart disease

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7331.237a (Published 26 January 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:237

Sex is not same as gender, and theory was first proposed in 1950s, say authors

  1. D A Lawlor, MRC research training fellow ([email protected]),
  2. S Ebrahim, professor in epidemiology of ageing,
  3. G Davey Smith, professor of clinical epidemiology
  1. Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2PR
  2. Department of Anthropology, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3HN
  3. Department of Diabetes and Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Medical School, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH

    EDITOR—In referring to our paper, Editor's choice of 8 September states that “A group from Bristol grabs attention by arguing that the fact that men have much higher rates of heart disease than women may be nothing to do with gender.” 1 2 This shows the current confusion over the use of the words sex and gender.

    The Oxford English Dictionary (http://dictionary.oed.com/entrance.dtl) gives the following definition for gender: “Intended to emphasize the social and cultural, as opposed to the biological, distinctions between the sexes.” We would agree with this distinction.

    In our study we argued that the fact that men have much higher rates of heart disease than women may be nothing to do with sex—that is, biology such as the female hormone oestrogen—but something to do with gender. Indeed, although the data presented in our study cannot test such …

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