The Studies That Got Away: Feminism, Health and the Media

March 30, 2007

Echidne has written a very smart post on feminism and health research:

Do you remember the big fuss the media made over the 1999 study by Kawachi and others which found that greater gender equality appeared to be correlated with better health for both sexes in the United States? How about the even bigger media fuss caused by the 2005 study by Chen and others which found that gender equality appeared to be correlated with better mental health for women? And surely you remember the excitement in the media last year when we all learned about the Swedish study which showed that both men and women have better health when roles are shared more equally at home?

You don’t recall? Neither do I, because there was no such fuss at all. Studies with those findings are not mentioned in the popular media at all or only fleetingly. But when a Swedish study in 2007 suggests that greater gender equality leads to less health for both sexes, what happens? You guessed it. The media is on the study right away …

Echidne not only sounds off on the possibilities for why anti-feminist studies receive high amounts of media attention, but she also points out the flaws in the recent Swedish study that rocked Rush Limbaugh’s world.

Plus: While you’re at it, also read Echidne’s Guide On How To Interpret Research – Again.

And here’s a related post I wrote last month about how the Chicago Tribune determines which medical studies get front-page coverage.