Covid has been good for at least one thing. Lockdowns and distancing are apparently what it took to increase diversity and inclusion at scientific conferences.
How? The conferences went virtual.
We’re not talking about moderate increases here. According to new research, attendance numbers for virtual conferences compared to in-person conferences increased by as much as:
- 253% for female participation
- 344% for students and postdoctoral researchers
- 700% for gender queer scientists
This is one of those hindsight-is-20/20 things, because OF COURSE! Online conferences take much less time and money, allowing more people to participate.
Virtual is (OF COURSE) better for the earth, too: researchers found that the carbon footprint of one in-person attendee at an international conference in 2019 equaled 7,000 virtual attendees.