Examining Gender Imbalance in Chemistry Authorship

ACS Chem Biol. 2021 Nov 19;16(11):2042-2046. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.1c00142. Epub 2021 Sep 15.


Despite decades of progress toward a more equitable society, gender representation in the sciences continues to be heavily skewed toward men. We were interested in gender representation in chemistry through the lens of scientific publishing. Publications are a central academic currency and are critical for funding, recruiting, and promotion in academia. Here we report the results of an analysis that compared the percentage of female first and last authors across 10 chemistry, 3 chemical biology, and 3 general journals from 2005 to 2020. We show that women are substantially underrepresented in chemistry authorship even when compared with their relative populations in academia and are not predicted to achieve parity within the next 50 years at the current rate in any journal. Our findings highlight the need for changes to the publishing process to achieve a more equitable publishing environment.

Publication types

  • News

MeSH terms

  • Authorship*
  • Chemistry / organization & administration
  • Chemistry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Gender Equity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Publishing / organization & administration
  • Serial Publications / statistics & numerical data*
  • Sex Distribution