Male scientists given more opportunities to address colloquia

When men organize speaker panels, they invite mainly men.

Female scientists give fewer colloquium talks than do their male counterparts, reports a study published in December (C. L. Nittrouer et al. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA; 2017). The study authors analysed the gender differences among 3,652 colloquium speakers at 50 prestigious US research institutions in the 2013–14 academic year. They found that male speakers gave more than twice as many colloquium talks during the year as did women (2,519 compared with 1,133). The study dismantles several commonly accepted explanations for the disparity: that there are more men than women in science; that men hold higher ranks in science than do women; and that women decline talk invitations at greater rates. In talks presided over by women, women represented 49% of speakers. When men oversaw talks, only 30% of speakers were women. Colloquium talks allow researchers to publicize their research and increase their national and international reputation. Without those opportunities, women can miss out on job offers and research collaborations.

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-00115-4
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