• Gender biases in participation in academic seminar


    We have now completed our study on whether a gender bias exists in who asks questions after academic seminars. To read more about why we started this project and to see our main findings, see our summary on the LSE blog.  A preprint presenting our results can be found on arXiv.


    Our main finding is that women audience members asked absolutely and proportionally fewer questions than male audience members at academic seminars. Furthermore, our observations indicated that the gender of the first person to ask a question predicted the gender imbalance in subsequent questions, with proportionally fewer questions asked by women when a man was the first to ask a question. We propose alternative recommendations for increasing women’s visibility at these events and suggest that our results are best explained by internalized gender role stereotypes about assertiveness. See here if you would like to see other summaries of our findings in the news.



    We welcome any comments and feedback on our findings! Thank you to everyone who has gotten back to us already: your feedback will help us to improve our manuscript.


    In response to our preprint, we have started to put together a list of potential ways to make academic seminars welcoming to everyone. We will turn this into an open online initiative, and welcome further comments. For an overview of similar findings of biased participation during question time, see this list put together by J. Davenport.



    If you would like more information or have any feedback, please contact any of us:

    Dr Alecia Carter

    Dr Dieter Lukas

    Dr Alyssa Croft

    Dr Gillian Sandstrom