Sex and gender integration in the bachelor curricula of nursing, physiotherapy and occupational therapy (PS82190)

En cours (Participation)
Début / Fin
01.01.2022 - 31.12.2024
Domaine(s) d'expertise
Méthodes d'intervention en ergothérapie
Sources de financement
Swissuniversities , P-7: Diversité, inclusion et égalité des chances (équité) dans le développement des hautes écoles 2021-2024
Sala Defilippis Tiziana (SUPSI)
Robatto Laurence (HES-SO)
Roux Pauline (HES-SO)
Meidert Ursula (ZHAW)
Collaboration de
Stucki Virginie (HETSL)


Providing just and individualised care and treatment represents a moral mandate as part of the social contract for healthcare professionals, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and nurses. The professional competencies profiles issued by the Conference of Rectors of the Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences (hereafter UAS) do not include sex and gender as a criterion which needs to be considered in professional practice (Ledergerber & al., 2009). However, it is emphasized that preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, palliative and rehabilitative measures must ground on scientific knowledge. It is beyond any doubt that sex and gender affect all these measures. While the dimensions of sex and gender are considered and made explicit within the curriculum of medicine (PROFILES) this is not the case for other healthcare professions.

Sex and Gender Medicine recognises that "women are not small men" and that being a woman or being a man significantly influences the course of diseases and therefore this fact must be considered in diagnosis and therapy. In particular, sex refers to a set of biological attributes in humans and animals. It is primarily associated with physical and physiological features including chromosomes, gene expression, hormone levels and reproductive/sexual anatomy. Sex is usually categorized as female or male but there is variation in the biological attributes that comprise sex and how those attributes are expressed (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 2018). While sex is a stable characteristic, gender is not. In contrast, gender is defined as fluid characteristics determined by society, values and psychology and it determines a person sexual identity and his/her role within society (Glezerman, 2016; Oertelt-Prigione, 2012). Gender identity is not confined to a binary dimension (girl/woman, boy/man) nor is it static; it exists along a continuum and can change over time (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 2018). Definitions of sex and gender are evolving as science changes, and it remains challenging to easily separate the biological from the social. Sex and gender are often interrelated, interactive and potentially inseparable (Tannenbaum & al., 2016).

This project aims at rising awareness and competence on sex and gender related healthcare issues among these three curricula, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and nursing, by 1) creating a consensus among experts on regard of the topics which need to be addressed in consideration of sex and gender; 2) gathering data according to the inclusion of sex and gender in their teaching units; 3) creation of teaching/learning materials; 4) sharing teaching content among the involved UAS. Through the involvement of field experts as well as lecturers, the condition for achieving a strong sustainability of the projects is given. The involvement of three UAS (SUPSI, HES-SO, ZHAW) as well as the thigh collaboration with the Swiss Network for sex and gender medicine represents an opportunity of collatoration between universities and UAS.


Canadian Institutes of Health Research. (2018). Science is better with sey and gender: Strategic plan 2018-2023.

Glezerman, M. (2016). Gender medicine: the groundbreaking new science of gender- and sex-related diagnosis and treatment (first edition). Overlook Duckworth.

Ledergerber, C., Mondoux, J., & Sottas, B. (2009). Projekt Abschlusskompetenzen FH-Gesundheitsberufe: Abschlussbericht.

Oertelt-Prigione, S. (2012). Sex and Gender in Medical Literature. In S. Oertelt-Prigione & V. Regitz-Zagrosek (Eds), Sex and gender aspects in clinical medicine (pp. 9-15). Springer.

Tannenbaum, C., Greaves, L., & Graham, I.D. (2016). Why sex and gender matter in implementation research. BMC medical research methodology, 16(1), 1-9.