Nature evaluates its own gender bias

In this week’s Nature we learn the following:

54% of its editors and reporters are women.

14% of Nature’s referees who assessed submitted manuscripts in 2011 were women.

18% of the researchers profiled by journalists in 2011 and so far in 2012 were women.

These stats are discussed in light of (blamed on?) contributing external factors:  fewer women in some fields, especially in upper echelons, and that “women typically spend more time than men as homemakers… reducing the time available for journal contributions.

Wow.

The growing appreciation of unconscious gender bias by both men and women in science is also cited.

We therefore believe that there is a need for every editor to work through a conscious loop before proceeding with commissioning: to ask themselves, “Who are the five women I could ask?”

A good first step…but far enough?

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