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Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin




Who presents at conferences matters. Presenting research benefits speakers, and presenters shape the conclusions audiences draw about who can succeed in a field. This is particularly important for members of historically underrepresented or disadvantaged groups, such as women. We investigated gender representation over a 13-year period among speakers at the largest social and personality psychology conference. On average, women were underrepresented as speakers, though this effect diminished over time. Chairs appeared to serve as gatekeepers: In symposia chaired by women, almost half of the invited speakers were women, whereas in symposia chaired by men, it was a third. The representation of women as speakers varied significantly by academic rank, with women underrepresented at lower ranks but not as full professors, and by topic. Women also tended to present with a smaller, less varied array of individuals than men, though this could be explained by women’s lower average academic rank.


Johnson, C. S., Smith, P. K., & Wang, C. (2017). Sage on the Stage: Women’s Representation at an Academic Conference. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 43(4), 493–507. Copyright © 2017 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. The article can also be found online here: SJSU users: use the following link to login and access the article via OneSearch.