The Gender Gap in Speaking Time at Academic Conferences in the Life Sciences

Previous research has shown that women are invited to speak less often than men at scientific conferences, but the gap has narrowed in recent years. A new study lead by Petra Edlund of the department of chemistry and molecular biology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden finds that when women are invited to speak, their lectures tend to be shorter than those delivered by men.

Measuring speaking time at 11 major conferences, the authors found that women speakers used an average of 97.5 percent of the time allocated compared to 99.5 percent for men. Some 47 percent of men and 41 percent of women went over their allocated time. At large conferences, 60 percent of men used more than their allocated time, compared to 48 percent of women speakers.

The authors conclude that “since conferences are an important arena for science dissemination this [abuse of time allocations by male speakers] might have a negative impact on female scientist’s careers.”

The full study, “Gender Balance in Time-Keeping at Life Science Conferences,” my be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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