Sexism at Science Journal Nature

A pretty striking statement about the underrepresentation of women from the Editors at Nature. A cause for cautious optimism? Might have been nice if they’d said more about what those ‘unconscious factors’ are, but the resulting heuristic is still a promising one:

We believe that in commissioning articles or in thinking about who is doing interesting or relevant work, for all of the social factors already mentioned, and possibly for psychological reasons too, men most readily come to editorial minds. The September paper speculated about an unconscious assumption that women are less competent than men. A moment’s reflection about past and present female colleagues should lead most researchers to correct any such assumption.

We therefore believe that there is a need for every editor to work through a conscious loop before proceeding with commissioning: to ask themselves, “Who are the five women I could ask?”

Thanks JI!

3 thoughts on “Sexism at Science Journal Nature

  1. WOW. Really nice idea: start by thinking of five women one could ask.

    I wonder if one should say “And if there really, really aren’t that many women, think again about what you are planning.”

  2. That’s a nice heuristic. It would be very useful the heuristic I’ve been observing lately: we could invite [male white professors] A, B, C, D, and E for the special issue/workshop/edited volume, etc etc. Wait a minute! We still need a woman. Now who works in this field? Right [female professors] X, Y, and Z. But we’ve already filled about all the slots, except the one, so let’s invite professor X. If she can’t make it, we still have Y and Z for backup. I think this heuristic is a vast improvement compared to a few years ago, when they just stopped at A, B, C, D and E, but still….

  3. im a Brit. and Dr. Cordelia Fine has done good work here recently.

    Hilary Rose has co -authored a book debunking simplistic, deterministic approaches to genetic theories about behaviour with her husband, Stephen, a neuroscientist.. “‘Genes, cells and brains’. She’s a theorist of scientific ideas.

    These could be exciting!

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