Several major gaps continue to exist in sleep research for women. This is in part due to the early work focused on sleep apnea, which primarily affects men. In addition, lack of awareness of sex differences in sleep research has contributed to this knowledge gap.
In Nature, Janine Clayton and Francis Collins call for efforts to ensure that preclinical studies include both male and female cells and animals. We worry, however, that this timely call will reinforce an underlying, unwarranted belief that males and females are fundamentally different.
I've never bought the "Men Are From Mars, Women are From Venus" shtick, but there are definitely some behaviors that are unique to each sex. I'm not talking about the obvious. What I have in mind are innocent differences of the type Jerry Seinfeld would incorporate into a stand-up routine.
Little real evidence is available to indicate that the brains of men and women are "hardwired" differently, yet, perhaps due to lingering stereotypes, women remain underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
What I hear from women is that they yearn for men to join them in finding that kind of fulfillment, but, sad to say, I don't often hear the same thing from men, which means that there is a gender gap to be closed.