Male bias persists in female-rich science conferences

November 21, 2012

Women scientists in primatology are poorly represented at symposia organized by men, but receive equal representation when symposia organizers are women or mixed groups, according to research published November 21 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Lynne Isbell and colleagues from the University of California, Davis.

The authors analyzed ' participation at major scientific conferences for primate scientists and , where symposia are largely by invitation but posters and other talks are initiated by participants. They found that within the field of primatology, women give more posters than talks, whereas men give more talks than posters. Their analysis also shows that symposia organized by men on average included half the number of women authors (29%) than symposia organized by women or both men and women (58 to 64%).

They describe their results as particularly surprising given that primatology is a field with a significant history of women scientists. In their discussion of these findings, the authors say, "Regardless of the cause of against women in invitations to prestigious symposia, its discovery requires attention in a field that is exemplary in being gender-blind in so many other ways."

Lynne Isbell adds, "It is difficult to imagine in this day and age that a gender bias by men against women in primatology could exist, but the evidence clearly reveals the sad truth. If it is still happening in a science that is so heavily represented by women, what does that mean for other sciences where women remain in the minority?"

Explore further: Women catching up with online activities

More information: Isbell LA, Young TP, Harcourt AH (2012) Stag Parties Linger: Continued Gender Bias in a Female-Rich Scientific Discipline. PLoS ONE 7(11): e49682. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0049682

Related Stories

Gender affects reaction to HIV-prevention materials

June 10, 2008

Various intervention strategies have been implemented to curb the rise of HIV, and a factor that might affect exposure to interventionsis gender. A new study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology reviewed the behavior ...

Gender bias in leading scientific journals

August 30, 2012

Fewer women than men are asked to write in the leading scientific journals. That is established by two researchers from Lund University in Sweden, who criticise the gender bias.

Recommended for you

Amateur paleontologist finds rare fossil of fish in Arizona

September 3, 2015

Growing up, Stephanie Leco often would dig in her backyard and imagine finding fossils of a tyrannosaurus rex. She was fascinated with the idea of holding something in her hand that was millions of years old and would give ...

X-rays reveal fossil secrets

September 3, 2015

A sophisticated imaging technique has allowed scientists to virtually peer inside a 10-million-year-old sea urchin, uncovering a treasure trove of hidden fossils.

Early human diet explains our eating habits

August 31, 2015

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed palaeodiet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.