Gendered Conferences: Beyond Philosophy


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 thoughts on “Gendered Conferences: Beyond Philosophy

  1. 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…

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. [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!)

  5. 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.

  6. 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…

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