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Daily Buzz: Taking a Stand on All-male Speaking Panels

People want equal representation

“Manel” (noun): an all-male speaking panel that frequently occurs at scientific meetings.

See also: a concept the head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a federal agency and the world’s largest public funder of biomedical research, will no longer take part in.

“It is time to end the tradition in science of all-male speaking panels, sometimes wryly referred to as ‘manels.’ Too often, women and members of other groups underrepresented in science are conspicuously missing in the marquee speaking slots at scientific meetings and other high-level conferences,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins in a June 12 press release.

“Starting now, when I consider speaking invitations, I will expect a level playing field, where scientists of all backgrounds are evaluated fairly for speaking opportunities. If that attention to inclusiveness is not evident in the agenda, I will decline to take part.”

With Collins taking on about 125 speaking engagements per year, many in the industry are eager that his stand brings a wave of change. Maryam Zaringhalam, a member of the leadership team at 500 Women Scientiststold The Washington Post that she hopes Collins’ message prompts other men to join the inclusivity conversation.

“Just to introduce this little bit of friction into the way we think of what an invitation means, and what it means to be included, is a very powerful message he’s sending,” she said.

Please select this link to read the original article from Associations Now.

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