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NIH related - Francis Collins will no longer take part in all male panels

Discussion in 'Health News and Research unrelated to ME/CFS' started by Denise, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. Denise

    Denise Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    June 12, 2019

    Time to End the Manel Tradition
    The National Institutes of Health is committed to changing the culture and climate of biomedical research to create an inclusive and diverse workforce. The recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequence in Academic Science, Engineering, and Medicine, identified the critical role that scientific leaders must play to combat cultural forces that tolerate gender harassment and limit the advancement of women. These concerns also are highly relevant to other groups underrepresented in science. It is not enough to give lip service to equality; leaders must demonstrate their commitment through their actions.

    Toward that end, I want to send a clear message of concern: it is time to end the tradition in science of all-male speaking panels, sometimes wryly referred to as “manels.” Too often, women and members of other groups underrepresented in science are conspicuously missing in the marquee speaking slots at scientific meetings and other high-level conferences. Starting now, when I consider speaking invitations, I will expect a level playing field, where scientists of all backgrounds are evaluated fairly for speaking opportunities. If that attention to inclusiveness is not evident in the agenda, I will decline to take part. I challenge other scientific leaders across the biomedical enterprise to do the same.

    The diversity of bright and talented minds engaged in biomedical research has come a long way – and our public engagements need to catch up. Breaking up the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) bias that is preventing women and other groups underrepresented in science from achieving their rightful place in scientific leadership must begin at the top.

    Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
    Director, National Institutes of Health


    https://www.nih.gov/about-nih/who-we-are/nih-director/statements/time-end-manel-tradition
     
    Kitty, Keebird, Andy and 6 others like this.
  2. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    For balance (balancing out all the years of all-male panels), he should resign and adopt a 100% women panel policy in the NIH for a few years. ;)
     
    Louie41, Annamaria, chrisb and 2 others like this.
  3. Dudden

    Dudden Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    As the NIH director, I feel this is a topic he should not be engaging in. I mean, does he not have anything better to do, like real science reseraches? Now i dont mean to offend any female mates here, but I sense that this topic is overrated and is being used in the media often to distract people from the real problems such as free healthcare, free education etc. How about speaking about that and stop waste our time? When we actually resolve the REAL problems, then we can go speak about this masculism/feminism non-sense (no offense to masulisms/femintists).
     
    sb4 likes this.
  4. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It's not a waste of time, it does not detract from the other problems unless we let it distract us.
     
    Unable, Sarah94 and Kitty like this.
  5. ringding

    ringding Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I work in an engineering field for a large European company. When I joined (20yrs ago) the ratio of men to women engineers was heavily biased, as you might expect. The approach that has been taken in the intervening years is the correct one, in my view, in that the women who were in the business were used as positive role models for students at schools and universities. Note I say students, as in my view a women engineer can be a positive role model for male or female students.

    I believe that today the ratio, whilst still higher for males, is much better and I work with quite a few successful and much more senior engineers who happen to be female.
    Is the same bottom up approach taken in medicine? From the outside, with no knowledge of the approach being taken in the field, to bring in the issue of balance of the sexes at only the highest level could be detrimental to the panels (on which the most suitably qualified individuals should sit regardless of their sex). What's the overall balance in the field when it comes to researchers? His statement implies the diversity is there, in which case it would be realistic to see that reflected in panels.
     
  6. duncan

    duncan Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Penny-ante at a high-stakes game.
     
  7. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This looks like a bad case of gesture politics. Should we be surprised?
     
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  8. TiredSam

    TiredSam Moderator Staff Member

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    It would be nice if he'd focus on a level playing field where all illnesses are evaluated fairly for research opportunities.

    I'm sure breaking up the bias that is preventing women and other groups from being rightfully represented in scientific leadership is an important issue, but I don't see how Francis Collins' posturing is going to change anything. Far be it from me to call anybody a hypocrite, but how long was ME parked in the Office of Research on Women's Health and how much progress was made whilst it was?

    So now being at the top enables him to make a big difference on important issues does it? What a pity it's never occured to him to start posturing on behalf of ME sufferers. That might be a more effective way of enabling millions of women (and men) to achieve the brilliant careers in science and other fields they could have had instead of being left to rot for decades.
     

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