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WNN Webinar | Gender bias in academia

Thanks to everyone who attended our kick-off event last week!

In this seminar, we were fortunate to have Dr Anaïs Llorens, Asst. Prof. Athina Tzovara, and Dr Sana Suri share their perspectives on gender bias in academia.

In the first part of the seminar, Anaïs and Athina highlighted findings from their recent review covering the many distinct challenges underlying gender bias, including challenges in funding, publication and citations, and harassment. To address gender bias in academia, we must all work together and address these issues at the individual, institutional, and societal level. We encourage you all to become an ally, no matter your background or gender. Please consider the list of resources that Anaïs and Athina shared with us for ways to create more welcoming and inclusive environments for everyone (Llorens, Tzovara, et al. 2021):


Career Stage


Authorship & Peer Review; Citations

Tool to probabilistically assign gender proportions of first/last author pairs in bibliography entries in neuroscience


Tool to probabilistically assign gender (and race) of author surnames in course syllabi

Early Life; Teaching

Tool for tracking and analyzing patterns in student participation

Funding & Awards; Teaching; Hiring & Promotions

Tool designed to analyze text in recommendation letters for words commonly associated with men or women


Special report on negotiation strategies; also includes practical advice to create equitable work cultures

Hiring & Promotions; Negotiations

Organization dedicated to increasing the number and success of women in STEM careers; hosts career building workshops; distributes training materials


Tool to compute probabilities of under- and over-representing minority speakers based on their overall representation in the field


Tool to track speaker diversity at neuroscience conferences

Sexual Harassment

Model for developing peer-led sexual harassment prevention workshops

Code of Conduct templates for conferences and laboratories

Sexual Harassment; Conferences

Instructions, FAQs, and templates for developing a Code of Conduct for conferences, events, and/or research laboratories

Authorship & Peer Review; Conferences; Intersectionality

Llorens, Tzovara et al., Neuron, 2021


In part two of the seminar, Sana shared her powerful story as an international scientist of colour in the UK. Through her story, we learned the importance of being aware of the power we all hold as colleagues and supervisors, and to be mindful of using inclusive language. Speaking from her own experience, she beautifully articulated that when meeting with a student, “we cannot glean decades worth of potential from a single email”, so be kind and encouraging. Sana emphasised actions we can all undertake to work towards more inclusive cultures:

  • Being mindful of your language e.g., pronouncing and spelling your colleagues’ names correctly

  • Avoiding assumptions based on skin colour or name

  • Acknowledging that everyone has their own unique barriers, e.g., international students often face the extra hurdle of applying for visas when planning conference travel

  • Providing a safe space with zero tolerance for bullying and harassment

  • Being mindful that people may have multiple protective identities (e.g., involving race, gender, physical ability) and associated intersectional burdens unique to them

  • Celebrating diversity and promoting visibility e.g., talking openly about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) and challenges

  • Establishing a network for minority groups: if your department does not have one, consider starting one yourself!

Thank you Anaïs, Athina, and Sana for important and engaging talks, and thank you all for attending and contributing to a lively discussion!

Kind regards, The WNN Team


We appreciate your feedback, so please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments!


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