Analyzing COVID-19 sex difference claims

Apa Newsletter on Feminism and Philosophy 20 (1):3-7 (2020)
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In “Analyzing COVID-19 Sex Difference Claims: The Harvard GenderSci Lab,” Marion Boulicault and Sarah Richardson summarize some of the groundbreaking work that they’re doing at the Harvard GenderSci Lab. Since March 2020, their lab has been analyzing, interrogating, and critiquing sex essentialist explanations of COVID-19 outcome disparities that are fairly ubiquitous in news media. Using interdisciplinary tools from feminist philosophy, science studies, and critical public health, they work collaboratively with two goals: (i) to critically examine COVID-19 sex difference research and (ii) to explore and elevate the role of social variables in driving biological disparities. They argue that in public health research, media, and messaging, data on sex disparities must be contextualized both to avoid reinforcing harmful sex essentialist assumptions and also to help the public understand the complex ways in which social factors influence these patterns. They argue that within the context of COVID-19, doing so can both clarify risks and save lives. Their contribution to this issue describes their methods and shares some of their findings.

Author's Profile

Marion Boulicault
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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