Representation of women in sport sciences research, publications, and editorial leadership positions: are we moving forward?
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GenderGender biasGender inequalityAuthorshipLeadership positionsEditorial policiesSexSex differences
Elena Martínez-Rosales... [et al.]. Representation of women in sport sciences research, publications, and editorial leadership positions: are we moving forward?, Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, Volume 24, Issue 11, 2021, Pages 1093-1097, ISSN 1440-2440, [https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2021.04.010]
SponsorshipSpanish Government FPU18/01107; University of Almeria, Spain; Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness RTI2018-095284-J-100; Spanish Government RYC2019-027287-I; Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities RTI2018-093302-A-I00
Objectives: We determined the representation of women in sport sciences research leadership by assessing the proportion of women in (i) leading authorship positions of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published from January 2000 to September 2020 in sport sciences journals and (ii) editorial boards of these journals as of September 2020. Design: Review. Methods: We searched PubMed for RCTs published from January 1, 2000, to September 1, 2020, in a representative sample of the top sport sciences journals and identified the sex of first and senior authors through photographs, sex pronouns, Google Scholar, ResearchGate, institutional, or other profiles. This strategy was also used to identify the sex of the editorial board members from the selected journals. Results: A total of 4841 articles published in 14 journals, and 1418 editors, were analyzed. The average proportions of female first and senior authorship were 24.8% and 16.8%, respectively. The percentage of female first authorship increased by ~0.5% annually (β=0.702; B=0.46, 95% CI=0.24 to 0.68, p < 0.001) from2000 to 2020, while the percentage of female senior authorship did not change over time (β = 0.274; B = 0.15, 95% CI = −0.102 to 0.398, p = 0.230). Among the editorial boards' positions, 19.7% were occupied by women. None of the editors-in-chief of the selected journals were women. Conclusions:Women are markedly underrepresented in leading authorship and editorial board positions in sport sciences, despite a ~0.5% annual increase in female first authorship in the past two decades. The mechanisms underlying these findings and the actions needed to reduce potential gender inequalities warrant further research.