Miranda Hart is an associate professor of biology in the Irving K Barber School of Arts and Sciences. - Contributed

Women are underrepresented in research journals: UBC study

Kelowna - Associate professor Miranda Hart said she is tired of seeing men on every page

After an in-depth study, a UBC Okanagan researcher says almost every aspect of two top science journals continue to under-represent women—from published articles to photos, feature profiles and even advertisements.

Associate professor Miranda Hart, who teaches biology in the Irving K Barber School of Arts and Sciences, is an avid reader of two science publications—Nature and Science. Whether it’s unintended or not, Hart said there is a definite discrepancy in the representation of men over women in these two leading journals.

“Publications like Science and Nature are a window into scientific culture,” she said. “These journals reflect what scientific role models look like, including gender stereotypes.”

The idea first occurred to her while flipping through issues of these journals at home.

“I became so tired of seeing page after page after page of men,” she said. “There were profiles of men, men doing science and men recruiting men to science. It was so disappointing and I was starting to get sick of reading them.”

Hart realized it would be easy to do a comparative study and actually count how many articles, images and advertisements included men or women. And what those images portray.

RELATED: Combat sexism, misconduct by voting in more women: former B.C. premier

For her study, Hart and undergrad researcher Becky Loverock looked at three months of issues of Science and Nature to see if women and men were truly represented differently in terms of authorship and images. Her study confirmed her belief about gender bias in both journals, with women accounting for less than 15 per cent of all corresponding authors published during that three-month period. More surprisingly, notes Hart, women were grossly underrepresented in photographs, advertisements and stock photographs.

“I thought ‘is it just me?’ But when we looked back through three months of issues and started quantifying the numbers of pictures, articles and profiles, it became very clear,” Hart said. “Despite societal awareness, gender bias persists. These magazines are perpetrating a role model that is predominantly, and sometimes exclusively, male.”

RELATED: #MeToo at work: B.C. women share horrifyingly common sexual assaults

“Elite journals such as Science and Nature carry significant weight in their ability to influence the scientific culture. They reflect who is doing science, and what scientists look like,” said Hart. “Changing gender stereotypes requires exposure to counter stereotypes and these journals have an important role to play in this change.”

Hart’s study was recently published in FACETS.


edit@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UBCO Heat teams unable to secure any wins against Mount Royal Cougars

The mens and womens volleyball and basketball teams went 0-4, but all have rematches Saturday night

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Rockets held scoreless in loss against Red Deer

Rockets will look for some points in final game of road trip against Edmonton

New maintenance crew to look after Okanagan Connector

Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc. will replace Argo Road Maintenance Inc. in 2019

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read