Achieving Speaker Gender Equity at the American Society for Microbiology General Meeting

mBio. 2015 Aug 4;6(4):e01146. doi: 10.1128/mBio.01146-15.


In 2015, the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) General Meeting essentially achieved gender equity, with 48.5% of the oral presentations being given by women. The mechanisms associated with increased female participation were (i) making the Program Committee aware of gender statistics, (ii) increasing female representation among session convener teams, and (iii) direct instruction to try to avoid all-male sessions. The experience with the ASM General Meeting shows that it is possible to increase the participation of female speakers in a relatively short time and suggests concrete steps that may be taken to achieve this at other meetings.

Importance: Public speaking is very important for academic advancement in science. Historically women have been underrepresented as speakers in many scientific meetings. This article describes concrete steps that were associated with achieving gender equity at a major meeting.

MeSH terms

  • Congresses as Topic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microbiology*
  • Sexism*
  • Societies, Scientific
  • United States