WiSE members publish study on the gender composition of editorial boards
Former WiSE Presidents, Shelly Johnson (2012/2013) and Sarah Graves (2013/2014), were part of a group of UF students to publish a new study examining the gender composition of editorial boards for common journals in environmental biology. Led by Dr. Emilio Bruna, the group compiled data from 1985-2014 of the membership of editorial boards for 10 leading journals in ecology, natural resource management, plant science, and related disciplines.
The main message is in the title: Women are underrepresented on the editorial boards of these journals. Since 1985, only 12% of Editors-in-Chief were women, with similar levels of disparity seen in the other editorial board positions (Associated Editors and Subject Editors). Most journals showed an increase the the fraction of women board members since 1985, notably the American Journal of Botany, Biotropica, and Conservation Biology. However, no journal, with the exception of Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics in the 1990s, has reached equal representation of women and men.
Gender disparity of editorial boards is not unique to environmental biology, and results similar to these have been found in a number of different disciplines. However, in a discipline where women now earn a similar number of graduate degrees as men, the article raises the question, for what gender composition on editorial boards should journals strive?
The article is publicly available from the online journal PeerJ.