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

Women underrepresented in research journals, says UBC prof

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,” Hart said. “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.

tag

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lake Flashback: Museum preserves future, new hope for a pool, and a murder

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old… Continue reading

Cobble Hill man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Drivesmart column: The registered owner is responsible

Have you ever stopped to consider the risk involved in handing your keys over to someone else?

Aquatic Centre renovations starting soon

More space promised for crowded fitness and aquatic areas

Mary Lowther column: Nutrition in our food on the decline

When crops don’t contain the minerals they need, they cannot provide other nutrients we depend on.

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read