As president of the Society for the Study of Evolution, I object to the claim that women were not adequately considered for the position of editor-in-chief of the journal Evolution (“Societies spurn women editors” Nature 440, 974–975; 200610.1038/440974a). The society is not sexist, nor do we reject women for senior positions. Of the past six presidents, three have been women. Our governing body has eight men and seven women, including our current chief executive and financial officer. Some 42 (29%) of our associate editors since 1995 have been women, compared with 23% of our membership.
It is true that we have had only one female editor-in-chief. However, five women were approached about their interest in the position before Mark Rausher was appointed, and all declined. The selection process involved a committee of six instead of three as stipulated in our by-laws, but this widened input and involved more women—including Theresa Markow. She raised no procedural issues until after the new editor-in-chief had been selected, agreed to serve and started to appoint other editors. The officers and council responded promptly to these issues in early 2006, but voted to approve the new editors rather than repeat the search.
Ironically, Markow's resignation deprives evolutionists of a woman at the most senior position in our society.
I must also ask: why has Nature never had a female editor-in-chief?
We stand by our description of the selection procedure — Editor, Nature.