In 2014, with help from friends and volunteers, I undertook a unique study of the gender ratios present in conference talks. We gathered data on the gender of both speakers and questioners from over 270 talks at the 223rd AAS meeting in Washington DC. Our goal is to better understand how and when people ask questions at scientific conferences, and to help define best-practices for conferences to ensure everyone can participate equally
I am very interested in extending this project to future AAS meetings, as well as other scientific conferences. If you are attending/organizing an upcoming conference and wish to collect data to assist with this project, please email me!
This study was reproduced at NAM 2014, and their excellent report is available online.
New: We are working on the analysis of data from AAS 225 and AAS 227 currently. A paper will be posted to the arXiv and the AAS.org website soon with our new results. One interesting preliminary result appears to be: if women ask the first question of a talk, women are more likely to ask additional questions!
Stay tuned for more!