November 23, 2012
Male Bias Persists In Female-Rich Science Conferences
Male-organized symposia have only half as many women presenters as symposia organized by women
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.
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 gender bias 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?"
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