The Festival of Genomics Conference California conference starts today. From the speaker lineup I count 132 speakers with a gender ratio of 72.7% men and 27.3% women. This is a good ratio compared to many (most?) genomics conferences — see Jonathan Eisen's many excellent posts on this subject — and it exceeds the background level of women in senior roles in genome institutes around the world (a figure I previously calculated as 23.6%).
However, it was because the ratio of women speakers was below my self-imposed target of 33.3% that I withdrew Front Line Genomic's kind offer of a speaking position and requested that they instead offer my slot to a woman.
I think Front Line Genomics are ahead of many conference organizers in addressing gender bias, and I look forward to seeing the final lineup at their upcoming Festival of Genomics London conference.
This post is to serve as a reminder that we, as a community, still need to do much better at addressing gender bias in our field, and that men can actively help this process by refusing to speak or present at conferences which show extreme bias. Preferably, I would like others to adopt my 33.3% target as a minimum ratio that we should be aiming for (this applies both ways, though there doesn't seem to be much likelihood of men feeling underepresented any time soon).