Monday, April 20, 2015

To Be a Featured Speaker at a Scholarly Meeting, It Helps to Be Male

The Chronicle of Higher Education
April 20th, 2015


Four speakers, all distinguished scholars, all men: That was the plenary lineup at the Renaissance Society of America’s annual meeting, held last month in Berlin. The lopsided demographics set off an active conversation on Twitter about the imbalance. A group of self-described early-career scholars got together and wrote a statement of polite but firm protest, which a senior scholar read on their behalf at the society’s business meeting.
One skewed year doesn’t demonstrate a bigger problem. But the debate among Renaissance specialists is just the most recent example of a broader conversation that has been gathering momentum as scholars at conferences, on email lists, and on Twitter do their own tallies of speakers and panelists at professional gatherings. Many of those counts turn up disparities that don’t favor women.

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