Publication - «Gender awareness among medical students in a Swiss University»

Lehre Forschung

Ilire Rrustemi, Isabella Locatelli, Joëlle Schwarz, Toine Lagro-Janssen, Aude Fauvel & Carole Clair

Published on BMC Medical Education, 03 June 2020


Gender is an important social determinant, that influences healthcare. The lack of awareness on how gender influences health might lead to gender bias and can contribute to substandard patient care. Our objectives were to assess gender sensitivity and the presence of gender stereotypes among swiss medical students.


A validated scale (N-GAMS – Nijmegen Gender Awareness in Medicine Scale), with 3 subscores assessing gender sensitivity (GS) and gender stereotypes toward patients (GRIP) and doctors (GRID) (ranging from 1 to 5), was translated into French and was distributed to all medical students registered at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland in April–May 2017. Reliability of the three subscales was assessed calculating the alpha Cronbach coefficient. Mean subscales were calculated for male and female students and compared using two sample t-tests. A linear model was built with each subscale as a dependent variable and students’ sex and age as covariables.


In total, 396 students answered the N-GAMS questionnaire, their mean age was 22 years old, 62.6% of them were women. GS and GRID sub-scores were not significantly different between female and male students (GS 3.62 for women, 3.70 for men, p = 0.27, GRID 2.10 for women, 2.13 for men, p = 0.76). A statistically significant difference was found in the GRIP subscale, with a mean score of 1.83 for women and 2.07 for men (p < 0.001), which suggests a more gender stereotyped opinion toward patients among male students. A trend was observed with age, gender sensibility increased (p < 0.001) and stereotypes decreased (GRIP p = 0.04, GRID p = 0.02) with students getting older.


Medical students’ gender sensitivity seems to improve throughout the medical curriculum, and women students have less stereotypes towards patients than men do. The implementation of a gender-sensitive teaching in the medical curriculum could improve students’ knowledge, limit gender bias and improve patients’ care.


23. Juni 2020


Université de Lausanne(Schweiz)