Behaviour 2019
The Role of Gender in Female Bird Song Research: Women Advancing Studies in Animal Behavior
Casey D. Haines1, Evangeline M. Rose1, Karan J. Odom1,2, Kevin E. Omland1. 1University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, United States; 2Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, United States

Researchers of different genders and backgrounds contribute greatly to the diversity of questions and approaches in science. For example, women researchers have made many contributions to behavioral research through the study of female song. We investigated the role of gender on influencing area of study, and asked the question: are female song researchers disproportionately women. We surveyed published “female song” papers in two time categories: 1) within the last twenty years and 2) the last forty years, recording counts of male and female authors and their author positon (first, middle, last). We compared them to a control group of “bird song” papers which were matched by journal and publication date. We found that first authors of female song papers are significantly more likely to be women: over the past forty years, 59% of first authors on female song papers were women. This bias has amplified within the last twenty years, women now make up 69% of first authors on female song papers. These results imply that due to increased diversity compared to other STEM fields, within this research there will be unique approaches to understanding behavior, management, and conservation.