Inequity in authorship of North American lichens

Holt E.A., Jonas I. & Stechelin M.
126(2): 205–216
Women have long been underrepresented in the sciences, and their contributions are often overlooked. Previous work has demonstrated a significant productivity gap between men and women when investigating vascular plant authorities and the naming of plant taxa. No study has directly investigated gender inequity, as depicted through authority identity, in the field of lichenology. Our research goal was to describe patterns in gender identity and country of origin for authors of North American lichens. We compiled and analyzed information from the North American Lichen Checklist (including U.S.A. and Canada but not Mexico), independent research, and a gender API to identify the full name, suspected gender, birth year, and country of origin of 889 authors (i.e., people listed as authorities of North American lichen taxa). Of the total 4,895 unique lichen taxa in North America, only 3.2% species were named by a woman. Even standardized by co-authors, men authors contributed significantly more than women authors in this field. We also noted that most authors originated from Europe or the United States. This work suggests that the field of lichenology could provide more support systems for American or Canadian women to contribute naming of new taxa or combinations. While our work focused only on authoring new species as a contribution, we recognize that women may be contributing in other notable ways to lichenology in North America. Keywords: Authority, women, gender, country.
Friday, 19 May 2023 14:30