…but I really thought we’d ALL AGREED NOT TO DO THAT (making like 2020 I mean, although manels too tbf)
Anyway, perhaps it’s not entirely fair to single out The Sunday Times (although srsly what were they thinking with that mock-up): they certainly aren’t unique in this seeming inability to remember female experts exist, and not just because the New York Times did the same thing in The Year That Shall Not Be Named.
A 2021 paper
analysed the “most highly visible COVID-19 media experts in the USA, Switzerland, Greece and Denmark” and found that the most visible media experts did not correlate with the most highly cited experts, aka arguably the ACTUAL EXPERTS, and in fact the majority of these COVID-19 experts had not, as of August 2021, even published anything on COVID-19. Naturally, they were mainly men.
In the analysis of US experts specifically, not a single one of the female experts who make the top 2% of academically cited experts was found to have featured in the US media.
Now, we can argue about publication and citation as a fair metric for assessing expertise, but given the media expert sample in question skews so heavily male, I don’t think we need to worry about that too much. From Invisible Women:
Career progression in academia depends largely on how much you get published in peer-reviewed journals, but getting published is not the same feat for men as it is for women. A number of studies have found that female-authored papers are accepted more often or rated higher under double-blind review (when neither author nor reviewer are identifiable). And although the evidence varies on this point, given the abundant male bias that has been identified in academia, there seems little reason not to institute this form of blind academic audition. Nevertheless, most journals and conferences carry on without adopting this practice.
Of course, female academics do get published, but that’s only half the battle. Citation is often a key metric in determining research impact, which in turn determines career progression, and several studies have found that women are systematically cited less than men. Over the past twenty years, men have self-cited 70% more than women – and women tend to cite other women more than men do, meaning that the publication gap is something of a vicious circle: fewer women getting published leads to a citations gap, which in turn means fewer women progress as they should in their careers, and around again we go. (IW, p.96)
And on that note, I was tickled to spot this line in the paper’s methods: “All citation metrics and rankings thereof exclude all self-citations.”
Ha, ha, and indeed, ha. And if you will, lol.