By Roberta Attanasio, Forever Leaders Editor
The study also found that female scientists were rarely invited because they were overlooked by the conference organizing committees, contrary to claims that male scientists accounted for most of the speakers because they were producing higher quality work when compared to female scientists. Indeed, the study found that women neuroimmunologists of requisite scientific productivity do exist and that their inclusion would achieve gender balance in speakers invited at the conferences analyzed in the study.
An additional finding is that the composition of the organizing committee matters. When the organizing committee was composed of about 50% women, the conference included about 50% female invited speakers, suggesting that to achieve gender parity it is necessary to include more women in organizing and planning committees.
Furthermore, the study suggests that speaking out about gender balance makes a difference. In other words, it is important to notice whether or not women scientists are being overlooked because of unconscious bias. Unconscious bias could be present not only in terms of gender, but also in terms of race, ethnicity, and other. The solution to this problem involves bringing such biases to lightpress release: “Naming the problem is the first step in solving it.” Organizers of a conference with gender balance in invited speakers were able to reach it through direct efforts to avoid unconscious bias. These efforts included recruitment of women to the conference organizing committee.this helps reduce their impact. As Robyn Klein, lead author of the study said in a
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