Monday, March 03, 2014

Another Mostly Male Meeting from UCSD- should be called "Food and Fuel for the 19th Century"

Well, just when I thought meeting organizers from UCSD had learned their lesson regarding mostly male meetings - this comes along.  Check out "Food and Fuel for the 21st Century" (I was pointed to this by a comment on a blog post of mine). The speakers are
That a ratio of 18:2 or 10% female.  

Not that I know the cause of this but here are some other pieces of information to consider.

The Food and Fuel for the 21st Century Program lists 5 people on their Executive Committee.  Any guesses on the # of these that are men?  Well it is 5.
Fortunately they have an Advisory Committee too and that must have some women on it right?  Nope.
Reminds me a bit of the QBio meeting from 2013 organized by many from UCSD which I wrote about last year: Q-Bio conference in Hawaii, bring your surfboard & your Y chromosome because they don't take a XX.  I note - this years Q-Bio meeting is much better.  But one can ask - does nobody at UCSD think about these issues when planning conferences and Advisory / Executive Committees.  I personally don't think one should choose women to just choose women.  But as with the Q-Bio meeting from last year, I think there are an enormous number of highly qualified women working on topics directly related to "Food and Fuel for the 21st Century" and thus I am both surprised and disturbed by the gender ratio of this meeting and this organization.

UPDATE 3/4 7:21 AM

It took me a bit but I found details on the 2013 symposium from the same group.  The web site for the 2013 meeting is not active as far as I can tell.  However it is available in the Internet Archive.  For example, here is a snapshot from June 1, 2013.  From that snapshot here are the listed speakers
  • David Kramer, Michigan State University
  • Susan Golden, University of California, San Diego
  • Julian Schroeder, University of California, San Diego
  • Stephen Mayfield, University of California, San Diego
  • Steven Briggs, University of California, San Diego
  • Matteo Pellegrini, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Donald Weeks, University of Nebraska--Lincoln
  • Michael Burkart, University of California, San Diego
  • Chancellor Pradeep Khosla, University of California, San Diego
  • Farzad Haerizadeh, Life Technologies
  • Ben Hueso, California State Assembly
  • Bill Gerwick, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Eric Mathur, SG Biofuels
  • James Van Etten, University of Nebraska--Lincoln
  • Fred Tennant, Heliae
  • David Dunigan, University of Nebraska--Lincoln
  • Xuemei Bai, Cellana
  • George Oyler, University of Nebraska--Lincoln
  • Gerry Mackie, University of California, San Diego
  • Mark Hildebrand, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • Lawrence Johnson, Salim Group
  • Craig Behnke, Sapphire Energy
  • Rebecca White, Sapphire Energy

For a ratio of 20:3.


  1. Yes, Jonathan, in this case in particular, its ridiculous.

  2. Just got this email about my post:

    Professor Eisen,

    I had an opportunity to read your blog observing the male:female ratio at a forthcoming conference at UCSD. If you had inquired with one of us, you would have learned that is not for a lack of trying. The following females were invited, but declined due to other commitments.

    Susan Golden
    Pam Silver
    Lee Tonkovich
    Sabeeha Merchant
    Emily Trentecoste

    The one additional speaker is Liz Specht who agreed to speak after we went to press.

    I will continue to watch your blog to see if you extend the professional courtesy of updating it with facts and the good faith efforts on our part.


    Byron Washom
    UCSD Director of Strategic Energy Initiatives

    1. I guess I will respond to my own "comment" here since the comment was to post a comment from someone else.:

      Thanks for the email. I can post this to the blog but you are also of course welcome to post a comment there.

      As for "facts" I posted the facts that I could discern about the meeting and the speakers who were participating. In my opinion it is not sufficient to simply invite some women and conclude that you have done a good faith effort in having diversity. If all / most of the women you invite say no, perhaps it would be worth considering asking why? There are many things one can do to improve diversity at a meeting.

      See for example this article by Ivan Oransky . Given the skewed ratio for the meeting last year and this year I would suggest you and the other meeting organizers consider carefully what a "good faith" effort really is.

    2. The following females were invited...

      Seriously? "Females"? Good grief.


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