Women in Science: Is it all fair in meritocracy?

September 4, 2020 12:00 - 1:30

Location: Virtual Room 1


Advances in academic careers are commonly considered to be meritocratic, meaning that anyone can progress and be successful with hard work and dedication. However, the meritocratic principle is vulnerable to bias, which may result from structural or historical inequalities that limit opportunities based on class, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, sexuality, and other social markers. This session will primarily address gender-related limitations.
The speakers will present the current challenges to meritocracy in academia concerning the advancement of women’s careers. The topics covered will include, amongst others: inequalities generated by work-family challenges sometimes hampered by parental leave policies; bias threats (implicit and explicit) to the assessment of scientific performances; subjectivity inherent in applying criteria to judge ‘scientific excellence’; and institutional recommendations on how to counter biases and increase fairness and inclusion of women in science.
The panel discussion will also address: how the construction of academic excellence can be translated into a set of unbiased requirements; what mechanisms must be in place to ensure that rewards and recognition in science shift the emphasis away from the ‘audit culture’, based on strict bibliometric figures, towards a more equitable assessment of merits; how measuring performance and excellence can be put into an adequate social context.
Presentations will be followed by panel discussion, in the form of a moderated and interactive roundtable encouraging contributions from the audience.

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