Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Gendered Conferences: Beyond Philosophy September 18, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — redeyedtreefrog @ 7:51 pm


I thought Biology was good for the ratio of men to women. Guess not always.

This is very much worth reading: “Q-Bio conference in Hawaii, bring your surfboard & your Y chromosome b/c they don’t take a XX.”

Best bit from Jonathan A. Eisen: “UPDATE – I have now submitted an abstract to the meeting.  The abstract I submitted is available here and posted below

The probability of having one out of twenty six participants at a scientific meeting be female

A quantitative analysis of gender bias in quantitative biology meetings.”


Thanks DF.



12 Responses to “Gendered Conferences: Beyond Philosophy”

  1. philodaria Says:

    Sigh, definitely yes. But on the plus side, how hilarious is Jonathan A. Eisen? That made my day.

  2. annejjacobson Says:

    Completely great abstract!

  3. elp Says:

    I have a good friend who’s a postdoc in evolutionary biology. she has data that suggest that, while gender ratios are good at phd level in biology, they’re very bad at senior prof level. (I think she’s told me it’s 25%ish at level of full prof, but I can’t recall for sure…) I’ve been wondering about this, because the wisdom in our neck of the woods of course has been that biology is good. but if what she says is right…we’re wrong about biology…

  4. anonymous@anon.com Says:

    it’s be worth comparing that 25% number to philosophy.

  5. elp Says:

    yep, if I recall, best guess is that we’re under 20% (someone will surely chime in and give the right number), so prob it’s worse in phil than in biology. but that doesn’t mean things are good in biology. the biologists I know do a lot of talking about how to solve their ‘leaky pipeline’ problem. they’re very concerned with the 25% figure (again, I might not be getting that number just right) given parity at the phd level.

  6. kat Says:

    elp et al., the Eisen abstract suggests that the relevant number, which I assume is the percentage of women in senior positions, is 20% in biology.
    So, biology has much worse pipeline leaks than philosophy, it appears.

  7. elp Says:

    [grins] I’ve given it away I didn’t read the abstract. thanks for clarification. but does it mean that theirs is worse, or just delayed, compared w ours? I think phil BAs are about 50/50 (again, someone correct me if I’m talking crap; memory poor), PhDs less than that? so, maybe we’re just losing people sooner–at student level, rather than at junior faculty level, say? that’s interesting if true. (and now I’ll stop speculating and sit quietly waiting for someone who knows more about this than I do to chime in!)

  8. Anonymous Says:

    It looks like the percentage of full professors in biology who are women is about 18% from the graph here. http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/pub/when-scientists-choose-motherhood

  9. Margaret Atherton Says:

    My guess is that the percentage of full professors even in very women friendly fields is far below the percent of new PhD’s. It takes a while for generations of gender imbalance to work its way out of the pipeline.

  10. annejjacobson Says:

    #8, Anonymous, you almost certainly weren’t to realize it, but that article is by Ceci and Williams, who are very conservative researchers who want to claim that sexism is not a factor. See here, for example:

  11. annejjacobson Says:

    According to NSF, the life sciences have 26.2% female full prof in 2006.

    That’s up from 5.2% in 1971.

  12. Teresa Blankmeyer Burke Says:

    Anne, that is helpful (yet annoying) information re: the Ceci and Williams article. Thank you for the link! For what it’s worth, I tracked down the Brammer and Nelson paper cited in the C & W article — Brammer and Nelson’s numbers are based on their 2007 survey of top 100 departments, which may account for some of the difference between their numbers and NSF. The question I have now is whether there is a difference re: women who are full professors of “biological sciences” and women who are full professors of biology –the NSF report you linked to above states that “health and biomedical sciences” are included in their biological sciences numbers. So the encouraging news is the upward trend (yay!), but it looks like we still don’t have a fix on the particulars re: percentage of women who are full professors in biology departments. Sigh… http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/N/Donna.J.Nelson-1/diversity/Faculty_Tables_FY07/07Report.pdf

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