Fewer women than men are asked to write in the leading scientific journals. That is established by two researchers from Lund University in Sweden, who criticise the gender bias.
In the 30 August issue of Nature, researchers have published an article showing that a much lower percentage of women than men are invited to write articles in News & Views in Nature and Perspectives in Science.
"We believe that fewer women than men are offered the career boost of invitation-only authorship in each of the two leading science journals," says Daniel Conley, a researcher at Lund University.
The consequences are that women are not as visible as men and are not provided the same opportunities for career advancement. The loss of women in science constitutes a brain drain for society.
When Nature was criticized in 2005 for offering too few women the opportunity to write for the Insight section, Nature increased the proportion of women authors.
"Gender parity can be achieved if Nature and Science are willing to make the effort to include more women in their invitation-only sections" says Johanna Stadmark, also from Lund University.
Conley and Stadmark conclude that equality within scientific research has increased in recent decades and that women today in many ways have the same opportunities as men to work within this field. However, they still believe that there is more to be done.
"Examination of the proportion of men and women who are invited to participate in all areas of science, whether it is as an invited speaker, a workshop participant, or for Science and Nature, is only good scientific practice" adds Daniel Conley.
- Daniel Conley, Johanna Stadmark. Gender matters: A call to commission more women writers. Nature, 2012; 488 (7413): 590 DOI: 10.1038/488590a
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