If you want to go to a #manel or a #YAMMM check out Cold Spring Harbor Asia meetings – where men get to speak about stuff

I just got an email about this meeting: CSH Asia 2016 Conference on Microbial Communities in the Environment: Emerging Technologies and New Frontiers:

So the first thing I did was to look at the gender ratio of speakers. I dug into each person listed here as much as a I could and attempted to infer what their gender is.  I realize this is fraught with problems and have written about this previously.  So as much as possible I looked for what pronouns were used to describe these people before infer their possible gender.  I was unable to get any clear gendered pronouns for one person but the others I think I got enough evidence to make a hypothesis.  I colored those I inferred to be male in yellow and those I inferred to be female in green. 

Organizers

  • Dusko Ehrlich, INRA, France
  • Jack Gilbert, University of Chicago, USA
  • Nan Qin, Zhejiang University, China
  • Ting Zhu, Tsinghua University, China

Keynote Speakers:

  • Dusko Ehrlich, INRA, France
  • Jack Gilbert, University of Chicago, USA

Invited Speakers:

  • Christopher Carr , Massachusetts Institute of Technology , USA 
  • Yehuda Cohen , Nanyang Technological University , SINGAPORE 
  • Alana Firl , University of California, Davis , USA
  • Andrew Holmes , University of Sydney , AUSTRALIA 
  • George Kowalchuk , Utrecht University , NETHERLANDS 
  • Shuangjiang Liu , Institute of Microbiology, CAS , CHINA
  • Nan Qin , Zhejiang University , CHINA
  • Jacques Ravel , University of Maryland , USA 
  • Peter Turnbaugh , University of California, San Francisco , USA 
  • George Weinstock , Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine , USA 
  • Paul Wilmes , University of Luxembourg , LUXEMBOURG 
  • Gary Wu , University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine , USA 
  • Ruifu Yang, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, CHINA
  • Yunsheng Yang , Chinese PLA General Hospital , CHINA
  • Jun Yu , The Chinese University of Hong Kong , CHINA
  • Yu-Zhong Zhang , Shandong University , CHINA 
  • Liping Zhao, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, CHINA
  • Jizhong Zhou , University of Oklahoma, USA 
  • Ting Zhu , Tsinghua University , CHINA 
Thus of the speakers (keynotes and invited) I infer a ratio of 18 men to 2 women (and one unknown).  So that is 10% women.  Not remotely representative of the gender in the general area of microbial communities.  
And sadly this is not the first time I have seen such skewed ratios in meetings from Cold Spring Harbor.  See for example: Yet another mostly male meeting (YAMMM) from Cold Spring Harbor and 
I note – this whole thing saddens me even more because one of the invited female speakers is Alana Firl, who is a post doc at UC Davis jointly working in my lab and Sundar’s lab.  She is completely awesome and brilliant.  But this meeting?  Well, it is a manel (a panel of mostly men).  A YAMMM (yet another mostly male meeting).  And a disappointment.  
So I decided to see if maybe it was just this meeting in the CSHL Asia series and if others were all OK.  So I went to their list of past meetings and looked at just the keynote speakers. 
Precision Cancer Biology and Medicine: 3 keynotes.  All male. 
Francis Crick Symposium: Advances in Neuroscience. 2 keynotes. One male. One female. 
Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy. 2 keynotes. Both male. 
And I went to their list of future meetings and looked at a few (in fields I knew a bit about)
Frontiers in Single Cell Genomics: three keynotes – all male
Telomere and Telomerase: one keynote – male 
Synthetic Biology: one keynote – male
DNA Metabolism, Genomic Stability and Diseases: two keynotes – one male and one female
So in these meetings it is 29:3 male to female for the keynote talks.  Less than 10% female. Great.  CSH Asia meetings.  Where men get to speak about all the stuff they know.

About Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s