Jonathan Eisen is walking the walk, turning down an endowed lecture opportunity because of their gender imbalance.

Thank you so much for the invitation and the respect it shows to me that I would be considered for this.  However, when I looked into past lectures in this series I saw something that was disappointing.  From the site XXXX where past lectures are listed I see that the ratio of male to female speakers is 14:3.  I note – the XXXX lecture series – also from XXXX – also has a skewed ratio (11:2).  As someone who is working actively on multiple issues relating to gender bias in science, I find this very disappointing.  I realize there are many issues that contribute to who comes to give a talk in a meeting or seminar series or such. But I simply cannot personally contribute to a series which has such an imbalance and I would suggest that you consider whether anything in your process is biased in some way. 


Jonathan Eisen


  1. Rich Woods says

    Seems like a concise and evidenced response.

    The poor bloke’s going to take shit for that, isn’t he?

  2. =8)-DX says

    I’d say: work on it! If all participants in such lecture series, from organisers to participants, took the approach shown here (and in responses in the linked article), we could move forward!

  3. marko says

    More encouraging is the response, which seems genuine, polite and entirely understanding of the issues raised. Bravos all round.

  4. Nick Gotts says

    Vaguely related:

    On Monday, I attended a meeting of Radical Independence* Campaign, on “Women and Independence”. There was a 10-minute talk, small-group discussion, then an open discussion session. Partway through this, a woman pointed out that there were 32 women and 11 men present, but of contributions from the floor, 13 came from women and 10 from men. I’m afraid one of the latter was from me. I thought at the time it was a point worth raising, but in retrospect, I’d have done better to SUAL.

    *Campaign for a Yes vote in the Scottish referendum, but for a fairer, greener Scotland, not just a different flag.

  5. ronster666 says

    Shame on you for using the phrase “walking the walk”. “Walking the talk” means doing what you say you are going to do. Walking the walk just means doing what you do, which is what everyone does.

  6. AnAnne says

    Stark contrast from tonight’s Audubon presentation calling on citizen volunteers to do a simple one night survey of a particular declining bird. Voice segues into joke tone….”and I always tell the ladies that this is something you can do in your heels. You don’t have to go wading through the marsh.” Yeah, cause ‘something you can even do with the kids with you’ or ‘something you can do if you cannot commit to a breeding bird survey, cause of work/life/single parent/caregiving/illness’ are way worse options to go with. Is this guy looking for help. I did wildlife as a young idealist, and know how much support these efforts need, due to lack of funding/staff and projects that are too big in scale to sic the techs on.Also ladybrains and their heels-if you like them you cannot bear to take em off, amIright!