BY THE OHBM DIVERSITY AND GENDER TASK FORCE
It’s often been said that the best predictor of future history is past history. Thus, after comments at the OHBM town hall meeting in Geneva regarding the current gender imbalance of Council members (1 female, 14 males), the Council made a decision that something needed to be done to enhance gender equity and geographic diversity. Thus, the OHBM Diversity and Gender Task Force was formed.
If it is true that the best predictor of future history is the past, then it was important for the committee to obtain a historical perspective of how OHBM has been doing with respect to women in leadership roles. Perhaps the current 14:1 relationship between males and females is merely a dip in what was otherwise a balance in gender. Thus, we took a close look at the distribution of gender within leadership roles and education at the OHBM annual meetings. Like all good scientists, we will let the data speak for itself (See figures below).
Of course, like all good scientists, we also like to say ‘in brief…’ the ratio between males to females in leadership positions, awards, and keynote presentations is about 5 to 1 over the history of the organization. The one area in which there appears to be a transition to greater gender equality is in the Keynote lectures. However, such a transition has not been present in Council positions, which was highlighted at the Geneva Town Hall Meeting. The gender distribution of the general membership is not known because this information has not been requested in the past. Similarly, race and ethnicity of the membership is also not known. However, the gender distribution of poster submissions is approximately 50:50.
The goal of the Diversity and Gender Task Force is to help work with Council and the program committee over the next year to recommend changes to promote greater diversity, not only regarding gender, but also regarding ethnicity and geographic distribution. The Diversity and Gender Task Force will be using this blog site as one of our forums to communicate our work. We welcome input from the community to achieve this goal. You can share your ideas and suggestions using the comments field on this blog and/or by sending email directly to the Chair of the Task Force, Tonya White at firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope that as a consequence of our work those in the future will look back and see an encouraging historical trend, not only in gender, but also in race, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds of the OHBM leadership. And, most importantly, that diversity will translate into even more impactful and positive advances in our field.
As the time is upon us to vote for the new incoming members of Council, it is our desire that you vote for the best candidates, considering each individual, irrespective of gender, race, and geographic location. Please vote, your vote counts!