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Gender balance in iGEM : the 2013 study

The iGEM competition will be welcoming and fun for all students regardless of gender or orientation. During their human practices work, iGEM teams are encouraged to consider the social and human aspects of scientific research including issues of gender. Here we showcase a study conducted by the Paris Bettencourt 2013 team on the subject of women in synthetic biology and in iGEM. Their main conclusions:

  • Gender balance correlates with success in iGEM! Prize-winning teams show gender ratios approaching 50%, while typical teams do not.
  • As of 2013 women are underrepresented in iGEM, particularly in mentor or advisor roles. Only 37% of the students participating in iGEM are women. This proportion has not changed throughout the years, and it is the same in Asia, Europe and America. As for mentor and advisors, the number drops to 22%
  • In survey data, women express less interest than men in taking leadership roles on their iGEM team.
  • Encouraging more women to participate as iGEM leaders and advisors may improve team gender balance, and improve the overall quality of iGEM science.
  • iGEM seeks to encourage leadership and scientific excellence in both men and women. The iGEM community can be an example to scientists everywhere of positive gender relations and collegial warmth regardless of gender. If you want to know the details of the study, you can find it here . You can also find an infographics of the main resuts here.

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