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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Immunology, Advancing Women Scientists

Authors
item Newkirk, Marianna - MCGILL UNIVERSITY, CANADA
item Ritchie, Ellen - SMITHVILLE TEXAS
item Lunney, Joan

Submitted to: Nature Immunology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: July 14, 2005
Publication Date: September 1, 2005
Citation: Newkirk, M.M., Ritchie, E., Lunney, J.K. 2005. Immunology, advancing women scientists. Nature Immunology 6(9):855.

Interpretive Summary: Women scientists are very active in immunology. However, in many countries their numbers in the higher levels of universities and government do not reflect the numbers of active immunologists. At the 12th International Congress of Immunology (ICI), held in conjunction with the 4th Annual Conference of the Federation of Clinical Immunological Societies (FOCIS), in Montreal, Canada, a special session was organized to address this issue. The American Association of Immunologists Committee on the Status of Women (AAI CSOW) organized the session entitled 'Proactive strategies for advancing women in science.' Speakers were invited from academia and biotechnology in the US and EU to give a broader perspective of issues that women immunologists face as they attempt to move forward in their careers. Each speaker was asked to address the current situation and give their perspective on future possibilities as well as needs. Their presentations are summarized in this article and are available on the web http://www.aai.org/committees/women/ann_symp.html. Analyses of invited speakers indicated that when blinded reviews of abstracts were conducted more women immunologists were selected as speakers. This report recommends such blinded reviews for other scientific program committees.

Technical Abstract: Women scientists have been very active in immunology. This manuscript summarizes a special session entitled 'Proactive strategies for advancing women in science' held during the 12th International Congress of Immunology (ICI), in conjunction with the 4th Annual Conference of the Federation of Clinical Immunological Societies (FOCIS), in Montreal, Canada. At the ICI/FOCIS 2004 meeting, the American Association of Immunologists Committee on the Status of Women (AAI CSOW) held a session entitled 'Proactive strategies for advancing women in science.' Speakers were invited from academia and biotechnology in the US and EU to give a broader perspective of issues that women immunologists face as they attempt to move forward in their careers. Each speaker was asked to address the current situation and give their perspective on future strategies. Their presentations are summarized in this article and are available on the web http://www.aai.org/committees/women/ann_symp.html. This manuscript presents additional data on ICI/FOCIS 2004 speaker selection. Of the ~480 invited ICI/FOCIS speakers and chairs selected by the scientific program committee, using criteria of excellence and publication in the past 3 years in high impact journals, 22% were female. The oral presenters in the Minisymposia were selected using a blinded review of the submitted abstracts (blinded as to author and institution), and interestingly using this method of selection 48% of the 976 Minisymposia presenters were female. This percentage closely reflected the gender distribution of abstracts submitted, where 51% were from female scientists as first authors. We recommended that all scientific organizations running meetings both large and small, when selecting oral presenters from abstracts, conduct the reviews in a blinded manner.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014