An editorial in this week’s Nature magazine calls for its own editors to improve the way they reflect the contribution of women to science. The editorial is responding to research highlighting the disproportionately small number of women featured in some sections of the magazine, despite the fact that around half of the editors at Nature are in fact women.
This might not be surprising in the light of recent research, which we wrote about here on the Naturejobs blog showing that even women seem to have an unconscious bias when assessing the competencies of men and women, naturally giving the men more credit, even when the evidence of their skills is identical.
Aside from these unconscious biases, the editorial also proposes other reasons to explain why the voice of women scientists in the media may be harder to spot. Of course, women are underrepresented in some disciplines, but it also suggests women may be more reluctant to come forward:
“One can speculate that there also may be a tendency for women to be less willing than men to push themselves forward, which may lead to editors being less aware of them”
Why might that be? And what is to be done about it?
I'm extremely grateful for bloggers like Dr. Smith, Maryn McKenna, and Rosemary Drisdelle, and I wish there were more of them in Flublogia. In the hope that it might encourage someone to take the plunge, I'm re-posting my longish PDF essay, Theory and Practice of Flu Blogging. It deals with the mechanics of blogging as well as the editorial and ethical issues involved.
And gentlemen: I'd love to see more of you blogging on public health topics as well.