This question is undoubtedly informed by the large body of literature confirming that teachers in the classroom spend more time speaking to and interacting with male students. Correspondingly they also call on female students less and interrupt them more. (This is mostly the work of Sadker and Sadker and is described well in either David Sadker’s book or this broader textbook.
However, ASHG is remarkably equanimous, as there are self-selecting microphone lines. Admittedly, not during every session is there an opportunity for every person to ask all the questions they want. (However, we record these sessions.) We also record positioning of microphone and speakers at microphones. Since the lines are self-selecting, there’s no need for a moderator or any other potentially biased figure to be choosing hands amongst a crowd.
At the Biology of Genomes meeting, where we also collect data, the microphones are held by individuals and move. In this different scheme (which might be slightly more biased, as the individual with the microphone has to move towards someone soliciting it) we still record a similar magnitude of effect [binom(16,147,0.35), p=2e-11] prior to any intervention on our part.
|speaker // asker||Male||Female|
What you’d expect is, regardless of the session, to see p and q (the male-to-male and female-to-female questions) having a little bit more weight than (1-q), (1-p).
In particular, you can measure this by looking at the difference, pq – (1-q)(1-p). This represents the difference between products of frequencies of same-to-same questions and different-to-different questions. Under a null, the expectation of this difference should be 0. If the difference was greater than zero, this would suggest there are more same-to-same questions.
To test this, we take the questions within each invited sub category, as follows, and re-assign them. So say you have 20 questions – we assign each one of them to come from a female asker to a female speaker, or female to male, etcetera and we do 10 thousand such permutations for each sub category. From this, we calculate a mean statistic and look at the distribution of those statistics.
Of course we calculate the same statistic for our own dataset, and as you can see, there’s a signficant skew observed in our data (pink) over the permuted sets (black)
So we subsequently conclude there’s a session-stratification-controlled significant bias towards female-to-female and male-to-male (same-gender) questions, as opposed to female-to-male and male-to-female (cross-gender) questions (p=8.1e-5)
We verify the accuracy of this statistic by performing a similar test not on the frequencies but on the raw contingency tables of counts of questions in each category. We use the Mantel Haenszel (say that one three times, fast, out loud!) test to look at the combined odds ratio, and again, across sessions, we see the same consistent trend (p=0.004).
Great question! (Note: this answer pertains ONLY to the new crowdsourcing dataset). Participate at our crowdsourcing portal!
Each device that logs data into our database is anonymized and recorded (and controlled by a human, via CAPTCHA). This is how we build our question-entry leaderboard.
(Note: this answer pertains ONLY to the new crowdsourcing dataset). Our entry-tracking means we can actually do a kind of string-alignment — something many of us geneticists should be familiar with — to ensure we’re matching questions correctly.
For example, imagine that user 1 records the whole question session. User 2 comes in for the next talk and starts recording midway, and user 3 leaves to go to another talk and stops early. As a result, you have something like this:
|True String||M M F M M F F M M M|
|User 1||M M F M M F F M M M|
|User 2||M M F M|
|User 3||F F M M M|
You can even see that User 2 and User 3 don’t overlap at all!
However, in computational biology, we’ve developed a lot of methods to align strings and derive a consensus. And in fact, that’s actually what we do! We borrow standard Bioconductor packages to do a multiple sequence alignment and derive a “consensus” question string. As we continue