Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Speaking out about gender imbalance in invited speakers improves diversity


Omissions of qualified women scientists from major meeting programs continue to occur despite a surge in articles indicating persistent gender-discriminatory practices in hiring and promotion, and calls for gender balance in conference organizing committees.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Quantification of high-impact publications among men and women invited to speak at a conference with substantial gender imbalance, and among a cohort of women neuroimmunologists who were not chosen as invited speakers.
Figure 2: Gender balance in speakers directly relates to gender balance in organizers.


  1. Witcher, K.G., Eiferman, D.S. & Godbout, J.P. Trends Neurosci. 38, 609–620 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Acosta, D. & Olsen, P. Acad. Med. 81, 863–870 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Beck, M.M. & Swanson, J.C. J. Anim. Sci. 81, 2895–2903 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Byrd, D. et al. Clin. Neuropsychol. 24, 1279–1291 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Dalley, B. et al. Acad. Med. 84, 1373–1382 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Drew, J.C. et al. PLoS One 10, e0119548 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Goins, G. et al. CBE Life Sci. Educ. 9, 241–247 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Holsti, M. et al. Clin. Transl. Sci. 8, 87–90 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Logan, N.S. J. Dent. Educ. 61, 273–276 (1997).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Nnedu, C.C. ABNF J. 20, 93–96 (2009).

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Noonan, A., Lindong, I. & Jaitley, V.N. Am. J. Public Health 103, 412–415 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. O'Reilly, S.L. & Milner, J. BMC Med. Educ. 15, 175 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Pilkington, F.B., Singh, M.D., Prescod, C. & Buettgen, A. Int. J. Nurs. Educ. Scholarsh. 10, 123–132 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Sinkford, J.C. & Valachovic, R.W. J. Dent. Educ. 67, 468–472 (2003).

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Smith, S.G., Nsiah-Kumi, P.A., Jones, P.R. & Pamies, R.J. J. Natl. Med. Assoc. 101, 836–851 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Whittaker, J.A. & Montgomery, B.L. J. Undergrad. Neurosci. Educ. 11, A44–A51 (2012).

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  17. Clauset, A., Arbesman, S. & Larremore, D.B. Sci. Adv. 1, e1400005 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Haynes, C. & Sweedler, J. Anal. Chem. 87, 6989 (2015).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Monroe, A.K. et al. J. Womens Health (Larchmt) 24, 837–842 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Casadevall, A. & Handelsman, J. MBio 5, e00846-13 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Casadevall, A. MBio 6, e01146 (2015).

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Robyn S Klein.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Klein, R., Voskuhl, R., Segal, B. et al. Speaking out about gender imbalance in invited speakers improves diversity. Nat Immunol 18, 475–478 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing