The Pros and Cons of Running A Majority White Male Conference

In this editorial, we at The Allium wish to present a balanced argument in favor of, and against running a conference, symposium or colloquium consisting mostly of male, white organisers, plenary speakers and contributed speakers.  Given that a majority of meetings conform to this “standard” in science (and we do love to keep our standards), we felt it was appropriate to explore what are the pros and cons of these kinds of meetings.


1. Inspiring spiritual symbol of how the world has been ruled for several hundred years

2. Minimal disruption from crying and fewer people falling in love

3. Eliminates need to filter out “banter” in the bar after the conference.

4. 51 weeks per year of appearing to be fair, rational and objective is perfectly adequate.

5. No need to say what you really think about women in science – the meeting speaks for itself.



1.  May cause some hippies on the internet to bitch for a while, about equality, fairness and other cute ideas.

2. Might accurately represent how old white males feel about who should really be doing the science

3. Conferences are not the only way to make women, minorities feel like there is no future for them in science.

4. Poignant, though sad, reminder of the heady days of science, when it was unfettered by “Political Correctness”

5. Grant assessment panels, tenure assessment panels, editorial boards can do the job just as well.

6. Doesn’t feel “new” or “edgey” any more.  Sad times.


We might not have covered all the pros and cons, so feel free to add more in the comments section below.




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