Women do better with conference applications if process is gender blind


Women are more likely to be accepted to speak at academic conferences if applications are anonymised to remove any mention of their gender, a study suggests.

In the latest piece of evidence to support the “Matilda effect” – where women in male-dominated fields are rated more harshly by peer reviewers – a review of a leading international conference found that papers with a female first author were viewed more positively once clues to the applicant’s gender were removed.

Conversely, those papers with a male first author scored far worse once a “double-blind” review process was introduced to conceal the identities of the authors and their referees.


The study was also important because it revealed gender bias in this particular field, even though a male-to-female speaker ratio (roughly 50:50 in 2012 and 2014) did not suggest an immediate problem, Dr Roberts explained.



In related news,

Female Scientists Turn to Data to Fight Lack of Representation on Panels
A website, BiasWatchNeuro, has been set up to track the gender bias in panels at neuroscience conferences. It’s an interesting article, especially the ‘we don’t see gender’ comments that read like a bingo card of clichéd excuses.



More on panels

There’s No Excuse for All-Male Panels. Here’s How to Fix Them.

“We believe people saying, ‘There aren’t any’ is just a lazy way of saying, ‘I don’t have them in my network,’ ” said project manager Tina Sayed Nestius. “With our lists, we’ve got a really good way to prove them wrong.”