Title Women Nobel Prize winners: 16 women who defied odds to win science's top award Degree of recognition International Media name/outlet The Huffington Post Media type Web Country/Territory United States Date 18/08/2013 Description Women make up a bit more than half of the world’s population, yet even in the most developed countries, men hold the lion's share of jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. What's more, men take home most of the prestigious scientific awards. That includes the Nobel Prizes, widely considered the ultimate mark of scientific achievement.
Of the 357 people awarded a Nobel in the science categories — Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Economic Sciences — only 16 have been women (see slideshow below).
What accounts for this discrepancy?
"This low representation is likely due to there unfortunately being very few women scientists in the first half of the 20th Century," Dr. Hannah Dugdale and Dr. Julia Schroeder, two researchers at the University of Sheffield who have studied barriers for women in the sciences, told The Huffington Post in an email.
Producer/Author Adam Toobin URL www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/18/women-nobel-prize-winners-science-award_n_3541686.html Persons Hannah Dugdale, Julia Schroeder Title Gender imbalance Degree of recognition International Media name/outlet Nature Seven Days Media type Web Country/Territory United Kingdom Date 27/06/2013 Description Female evolutionary biologists may enjoy a smaller level of professional exposure compared with their male colleagues, in part because they give fewer conference talks, according to analysis published on 20 June (J. Schroeder et al. J. Evol. Biol. http://doi.org/m2w; 2013). At the 2011 Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, women accounted for 23% of the invitations to speak — similar to their representation among senior scientists and those who publish in high-profile journals. However, only 15% of actual conference speakers were women. Female scientists were about twice as likely as men to turn down the speaking invitations. See Nature 495, 22–24 (2013). URL www.nature.com/news/seven-days-21-27-june-2013-1.13266 Persons Hannah Dugdale, Julia Schroeder Title Female scientists' research is less well recognised than men's, study reveals Degree of recognition International Media name/outlet The Daily Telegraph Media type Web Country/Territory United Kingdom Date 24/06/2013 Description Excellent work by female scientists is not as widely recognised as that done by their male counterparts, a study has shown.
The research, published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, showed that women who have beaten the odds to be in the upper echelons of science face another hurdle in that high-quality science by female academics is underrepresented compared with that of men.
The researchers analysed the gender of invited speakers at congresses of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) and found that male speakers outnumbered women.
Even compared with the numbers of women and men among world-class scientists - from the world's top-ranked institutions for life sciences, and authors in the top-tier journals Nature and Science - women were still under-represented among invited speakers.
Dr Hannah Dugdale, of Sheffield University's department of animal and plant sciences, said: "This could relate to child care requirements, lower perception of scientific ability or being uncomfortable with self-promotion."
Co-researcher Dr Julia Schroeder, a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany, said: "Women scientists at a career phase when it is important to communicate one's findings and build networks may be pregnant, or have children. Lower exposure and fewer networking opportunities are costly to the career."
Kirsty Grainger, head of skills and careers at the Natural Environment Research Council, added: "Taking action to foster a culture that supports equality and diversity in research and that encourages better representation and support for women is extremely important.
Persons Hannah Dugdale, Julia Schroeder Title Invited speakers, role models and women Degree of recognition International Media name/outlet The Royal Society - Inside Science Media type Web Country/Territory United Kingdom Date 24/06/2013 Description Do role models matter? And if so, in what kind of situation are they most important? Two papers, coming from very different parts of the scientific spectrum, were brought to my attention last week which brought these questions into focus. In particular, building on the earlier post on this site I wrote about selection of speakers for conferences, it is worth considering the complexity of who slots into the slate of speakers who actually appear on any given scientific programme. Producer/Author Professor Athene Donald URL blogs.royalsociety.org/inside-science/2013/06/24/invited-speakers-role-models-and-women/ Persons Hannah Dugdale, Julia Schroeder Title Women underrepresented at academic conferences Degree of recognition International Media name/outlet Times Higher Education Media type Web Country/Territory United Kingdom Date 24/06/2013 Description Study suggests women more likely than men to turn down invitations to speak
A greater tendency among women to turn down invitations to speak at prestigious conferences could account for their relative scarcity among senior academic ranks, a study has suggested.
Producer/Author Paul Jump URL www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/women-underrepresented-at-academic-conferences/2005015.article Persons Hannah Dugdale Title Study finds women biologists more likely to avoid spotlight at conferences Degree of recognition International Media name/outlet Science Insider Media type Web Country/Territory United States Date 21/06/2013 Description Women who have beaten the odds to find themselves in the upper echelons of science face a further hurdle—visibility. Female scientists are less likely to sit on science advisory boards, receive awards, and give invited talks at conferences. However, a new study suggests that the reasons women appear less often on the podium are complicated. Producer/Author Jennifer Carpenter URL news.sciencemag.org/people-events/2013/06/study-finds-women-biologists-more-likely-avoid-spotlight-conferences Persons Julia Schroeder, Hannah Dugdale
Title Women’s contribution to science goes unheard Degree of recognition International Media name/outlet The Conversation Media type Web Country/Territory United Kingdom Date 26/06/2013 Description Even today there are few women graduate students and even fewer women academics, especially in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and maths). Why is this the case, even in 2013, and what can we do about it?
Lower visibility of female scientists is one of many potential reasons for the under-representation of women in senior academic ranks. To succeed in academic science, researchers must produce many widely cited publications and attract independent funding. Success clearly requires doing excellent science. However, academics can also raise their profiles and improve their work through presenting their findings at major international conferences. In academic science, as in many other high profile professions, it is hard to advance if your voice is not heard and your work is not known.
In a new study published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, along with 37 academics from around the world, we investigated the numbers of female and male invited speakers at six biannual congresses of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) – the most prestigious gatherings of evolutionary biologists in Europe. Male speakers invited to the congress outnumbered female speakers, a finding that was expected since women make up a smaller proportion of the pool of potential speakers. But women were under-represented even after taking this into account.
We compared the number of female and male invited speakers to the number of females and males available in the potential pool of candidate speakers. What qualifies a candidate to be considered is debatable, therefore we investigated two pools. Using sex ratio data from the world’s top ranked institutions for life sciences and first authors in the top-tier journals (Nature and Science) we found only about half as many females as expected.
This shows that high quality science led by female academics is under-represented in comparison to that of their male counterparts. If this dearth of female voices in conferences harms women’s advancement within academia, then society as a whole is also losing some of its best scientists.
On delving deeper into the data from the 2011 congress, we found women were under-represented as invited speakers, not because men were invited proportionally more than women, but because men accepted invitations more often. This result is based on a single conference in a single discipline, and the two lead authors of the study, Julia Schroeder and Hannah Dugdale, are investigating whether this trend can be generalised.
So why would men accept speaking invitations more than women? There are many reasons, but two stick out. First, the most demanding phase of a career in academic science coincides with the age at which most scientists, women and men, are starting families. In a perfect world, women and men would share the demands of building a family equally, but recent research has shown that babies matter more in the careers of female academics. Second, women are less likely than men to self-promote – behaviour that may be a form of self-defence, since studies show that it doesn’t pay for women to be seen as successful and ambitious.
The roots of these trends probably begin long before girls and boys embark on academic careers. We are conditioned from a young age to believe that caring for the children is the woman’s domain, whereas career success is the man’s domain.
You don’t believe that this is true in 2013? Test your own gender biases online. Or simply take a walk down the toy aisle at a department store and marvel at the gender specificity.
Determining the solutions to under-representation of women in STEM fields – and in positions of power in general – is beyond the scope of our expertise. But our opinion is that we could begin to remedy these major societal challenges with small steps, like insisting on non-gendered toys and clothes.
Start small, at home, with friends, nieces and nephews, grand-kids. These measures will trickle up, as youngsters grow up without implicit bias, and adults are made more aware of the biases they unconsciously harbour. Eventually women and men will be equally likely to have their voices heard – in conferences, faculty meetings and boardrooms – and society as a whole will benefit.
Producer/Author Debbie Buehler & Julia Schroeder URL https://theconversation.com/womens-contribution-to-science-goes-unheard-15532 Persons Debbie Buehler, Julia Schroeder, Hannah Dugdale