On Seminars and the Sex Ratio of Geosciences Departments

EarlyToBed posted an interesting list breaking down the sex ratio for seminars at a number of Geosciences departments at Universities in the US today.  This feeds into an ongoing dialogue about the representation of women in the sciences, and their lack of representation in higher profile sessions at meetings (see here for a great take by Jonathan Eisen, who includes a whole bunch of links at the end). When she tweeted the post I replied wondering how that relationship matches the departmental sex ratio.  I posted that with the belief that higher ratios of women in a department would mean a higher ratio of seminars presented by women.  To wit:

  • H0:  There is no relationship between the number of women in a department and the number of seminars presented by women in the departmental seminar series
  • H1:  Higher numbers of women in a department will mean more seminars presented by women.

Why do I believe that?  I made a few assumptions to get to this idea.  I assume that women in the geosciences likely have a higher number of women in their scientific social networks, and that departmental seminars often draw on members of the department to fill vacant spaces, so a department with more women should, presumably, have a higher chance of drawing women from the department to fill empty spaces.

So, what does the relationship look like?  Not what I expected at all. . . Continue reading On Seminars and the Sex Ratio of Geosciences Departments