RELEASE: In COVID-19 Vaccine Research and Development, Governments and Manufacturers Must Prioritize Gender Equity

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress released a new report looking at how women—particularly women of color as well as pregnant and lactating people—have historically been excluded from clinical trials; how that has contributed to negative health outcomes for women; and what the U.S. government and drug manufacturers should do to ensure a potential COVID-19 vaccine and therapy affords equitable prevention and treatment for women. The report comes as the U.S. government is investing unprecedented public resources in vaccine candidates through Operation Warp Speed, an interagency effort to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

Key recommendations from the report include:

  • Congress should require researchers to collect disaggregated data across multiple factors, such as sex, gender, race, and pregnancy status, for prevalence and research findings.
  • Clinical researchers should be required to asses therapies’ impacts on women and pregnant people.
  • Congress and federal agencies should encourage researchers to engage in targeted outreach to guarantee adequate representation and rebuild trust with communities where trust has been broken.
  • Lawmakers should exercise legislative oversight and enforcement authority to guarantee equitable research.

“As the globe races toward developing COVID-19 vaccines and therapeutics, ensuring equitable treatment for women must be a priority for drug researchers and manufacturers. Failing to account for women’s health needs in clinical trials puts the globe’s health and financial security in jeopardy and is a risk we cannot afford to take. This report outlines essential steps the government, the private sector, and the research community must take in developing a COVID-19 vaccine and treatment,” said Jamille Fields Allsbrook, director of women’s health and rights with the Women’s Initiative at CAP. “Even more, centering women in research must go beyond the COVID-19 response. There are a number of conditions and therapies for which more research is needed to understand and better address the impact on women.”

Please click here to read: “Toward Equitable Treatments for Women’s Health During Coronavirus and Beyond” by Jamille Fields Allsbrook, Osub Ahmed, and Nora Ellmann

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.