Women weren’t

required in clinical research until

30 years later,

we’re still decades


What does it mean to be left
out of clinical research?

Until 1993, women weren’t required in U.S. research for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, vaccines, prescription drugs, mental health conditions, and much more.1

To this day, women and people with vaginas are diagnosed on average 4 years later than men across 770+ diseases.2

We’re more likely to die from heart attacks, react poorly to prescription drugs, and have our pain and symptoms dismissed by doctors.

  1. This year’s Equal Research Day highlights the 30th anniversary of the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993, which required the inclusion of women in U.S. clinical research for the first time. Though we match the use of the term “women” for historical accuracy, we note that an intersectional approach to sex and gender was not taken in the development and application of this law. The intent of Equal Research Day is to shine a light on all groups who have been underrepresented in clinical research —trans and non-binary people, people of color, people with disabilities, older adults, pregnant people, and more.
  2. See all our sources in our op-ed for Fortune.
What happened in 1993?

On June 10, 1993,
Congress passed the NIH Revitalization Act, requiring the inclusion of women in clinical research for the first time.

Why were women left out of research in the first place?

In 1977, a Food and Drug Administration policy recommended excluding "women of childbearing potential" from Phase I and early Phase II drug trials.

This was partly a safety measure after the use of thalidomide to treat morning sickness in the 1950s unknowingly caused thousands of birth defects. Even though thalidomide was never approved for use in the U.S. for anyone, after what happened, researchers thought it was safest not to include any women of childbearing age in studies.

However, researchers also had biased concerns that female hormone fluctuations made women too “difficult” to study and  made research more expensive.

Because of those reasons, women and people with vaginas were not just left out but actively excluded from U.S. clinical research from 1977 to 1993.


But on June 10, 2023, we still haven’t reached parity.

And without equal research, there can never be equal care.

Who is still under-represented?

While some strides have been made since 1993, particularly with the representation of white women, there are many groups that remain under-represented — including women from non-white racial and ethnic communities.

Additionally, older adults, pregnant and lactating people, people from the LGBTQIA+ community, and people with disabilities remain under-represented and even excluded from clinical research.

At Evvy, we're pioneering precision healthcare for women and people with vaginas by discovering and leveraging overlooked biomarkers, starting with the vaginal microbiome.

We’re normally focused on destigmatizing vaginal health and providing clinical care for the vaginal microbiome, but our larger mission is to build a world where our health is finally understood, where medical bias has no place, and where everyone works together to close the gender health gap.

Keep scrolling to learn how you can support our mission ↓

How to help

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to Women’s Health Access Matters

Women’s Health Access Matters (WHAM) is dedicated to funding women’s health research and investment to transform women’s lives.

For every post or Story that tags @evvy and #EqualResearchDay, we’ll donate $1 to WHAM*

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More to learn and do

Read the op-ed

Learn from the Evvy founders how deficient research manifests as the gender health gap.

Read in Fortune mag ↗

Explore the history

From 1747 to 2023, explore the full history of women in clinical research.

See the timeline ↗

Meet Evvy’s mission

We’re pioneering precision healthcare for people with vaginas, starting with the vaginal microbiome

Learn more

Evvy clinical care

Get innovative and integrative vaginal healthcare, powered by our state-of-the-art vaginal microbiome test.

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