The term 'manel' is used to refer to an all-male panel at a meeting or conference. While the exact origins of the term are unclear, the term has circulated widely on social media in recent years in response to increasing awareness of the over-representation of men on panels. This year Nature reported that women researchers represent 24 to 42 percent of the invited panelists in scientific meetings across five research areas.
This summer, Dr. Francis Collins declared it time to end the 'manel' tradition and stated that he will decline invitations to events where “attention to inclusiveness is not evident in the agenda”. Similarly, the Lancet Editorial Board declared that their editors “will not serve as panelists at a public conference or event when there are no women on the panel”. Commitments like these have been referred to as “taking the pledge”. However, the response to such pledges has been mixed, as illustrated in the Washington Post article linked to below.
To learn more:
- Francis Collins’ announcement Time to End the 'Manel' Tradition - nih.gov
- Making Meetings More Equal (pdf, 1.98 MB) from Nature magazine.
- The Lancet Group outlines their commitment to gender equity and diversity
- A Few Thoughts on ‘Manels’ from the Washington Post
- The Odds That a Panel Would 'Randomly' Be All Men Are Astronomical, The Atlantic; article includes a Conference Diversity Distribution Calculator to estimate for yourself.