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Making Scientific Meetings More Woman-Friendly

Presenting at scientific meetings is a crucial element of building a successful career in academic science; it is also one in which women lag behind men. So, how can more female scientists get onto the programs of scientific meetings?

A new study in the journal mBio has the answer, and the article's title says it all: "The Presence of Female Conveners Correlates with a Higher Proportion of Female Speakers at Scientific Symposia." Co-authors Arturo Casadevall of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City and Jo Handelsman of Yale University analyzed 460 symposia held at two meetings of the American Society for Microbiology. Those with a woman on the organizing committee also had at least one female presenter "significantly" more often (43% of the time versus 25% of the time) than those planned solely by men, the authors found. In other words, they write, a female committee member "increased the proportion of female speakers by 72% compared with those convened by men alone."

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