As bloggers like Tree of Life's Jonathan Eisen and others have noticed, some scientific conferences appear to be short on female speakers. And a report in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology notes that, for the European Society for Evolutionary Biology Congress 2011 meeting, women were under-represented.
Julia Schroeder from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Germany, Hannah Dugdale at the University of Sheffield, and their colleagues report that women made up 15 percent of invited speakers to the meeting, while they comprise 46 percent of all presenters, 41 percent of regular oral presenters, and 25 percent of plenary speakers.
"The total [of invited speakers] — 66 of 430 individuals — was half of what would be expected based on the number of senior female scientists in the life sciences," ScienceInsider adds.
Schroeder, Dugdale, and their colleagues add, though, that more women — about half — than men — about a quarter — declined invitations to speak. The investigators are now looking into why scientists decline invitations to speak. "Then we [will] know what can be done to change their minds," Schroeder tells ScienceInsider.