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      Diversity begets diversity: A global perspective on gender equality in scientific society leadership

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          Abstract

          Research shows that gender inequality is still a major issue in academic science, yet academic societies may serve as underappreciated and effective avenues for promoting female leadership. That is, society membership is often self-selective, and board positions are elected (with a high turnover compared to institutions)—these characteristics, among others, may thus create an environment conducive to gender equality. We therefore investigate this potential using an information-theoretic approach to quantify gender equality (male:female ratios) in zoology society boards around the world. We compare alternative models to analyze how society characteristics might predict or correlate with the proportion of female leaders, and find that a cultural model, including society age, size of board and whether or not a society had an outward commitment or statement of equality, was the most informative predictor for the gender ratio of society boards and leadership positions. This model was more informative than alternatives that considered, for instance, geographic location, discipline of study or taxonomic focus. While women were more highly represented in society leadership than in institutional academic leadership, this representation was still far short of equal (~30%): we thus also provide a checklist and recommendations for societies to contribute to global gender equality in science.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Multimodel Inference: Understanding AIC and BIC in Model Selection

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            AIC model selection and multimodel inference in behavioral ecology: some background, observations, and comparisons

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: InvestigationRole: Project administrationRole: SupervisionRole: ValidationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: ResourcesRole: ValidationRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: InvestigationRole: ResourcesRole: ValidationRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Formal analysisRole: MethodologyRole: SoftwareRole: ValidationRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                30 May 2018
                2018
                : 13
                : 5
                Affiliations
                [1 ] School of Science and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia
                [2 ] Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions, Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
                [3 ] Department of Women's Studies and Feminist Research, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
                Indiana University Bloomington, UNITED STATES
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Article
                PONE-D-17-13182
                10.1371/journal.pone.0197280
                5976142
                29847591
                © 2018 Potvin et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 6, Pages: 14
                Product
                Funding
                The authors received no specific funding for this work.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Social Sciences
                Sociology
                Sexual and Gender Issues
                Social Sciences
                Sociology
                Social Systems
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Zoology
                Earth Sciences
                Geography
                Historical Geography
                Social Sciences
                Sociology
                Sexual and Gender Issues
                Gender Discrimination
                Social Sciences
                Sociology
                Social Discrimination
                Gender Discrimination
                Computer and Information Sciences
                Network Analysis
                Social Networks
                Social Sciences
                Sociology
                Social Networks
                Social Sciences
                Economics
                Labor Economics
                Employment
                Careers
                Earth Sciences
                Geography
                Human Geography
                Cultural Geography
                Social Sciences
                Human Geography
                Cultural Geography
                Custom metadata
                All relevant data are found within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

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