Journal devotes a whole Special Issue to highlight women in science

A Special Issue celebrates the outstanding achievements and contributions of women in evolutionary biology by highlighting a sample of their research and accomplishments.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time a scientific journal has devoted a whole Special Issue to celebrate and showcase the research of women”, says Maren Wellenreuther, Associate Professor at Lund University in Sweden and a Senior Scientist at Plant and Food Research in New Zealand.

The Special Issue contains 17 papers that feature the research led by women scientists and will appear in the journal Evolutionary Applications in January 2016.

“By putting a Special Issue together that focuses explicitly on the diverse contributions of women in science, I was hoping to showcase and highlight their excellence and to give young women a feeling that lets them conclude 'Yes, we can'”, says Maren Wellenreuther who served as guest editor for the issue and together with Sarah Otto from the University of British Columbia in Canada prepared the introductory essay.

The idea for the open access Special Issue arose during conversations with the Editor in Chief of the Journal, Louis Bernatchez, in 2013. The driving force was to inspire women and to invoke a feeling that it is feasible to have a career in science.

“Once I opened my eyes and saw the issues relating to gender inequity I begun to ask myself 'where are the women?'. This question pops up when I go to conferences, attend board meetings, or when I discuss speakers that should be invited. Asking this simple question openly is a good start to address implicit biases around us.”

The article just published, also contains some personal career reflections from women scientists in the evolutionary field:

“Interacting with the contributing women and discussing their career paths and personal reflections had a profound impact on me, because I realised that many of these amazing women faced obstacles throughout their careers. It has been inspiring to hear their experiences and to find out about their creative solutions to issues they had to deal with”, says Maren Wellenreuther.

“I think that the contribution of women to science has been strong for a long time, but that textbooks and history accounts paint a different story, i.e. one that focuses on men. The absence of women in leadership positions creates a lack of role models and dissuades women from a career in science.”

Women in evolution – Highlighting the changing face of evolutionary biology.

Contact information:

Maren Wellenreuther, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Lund University, Sweden
0064 22 3575802

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