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Brazilian Journal of Biology

Print version ISSN 1519-6984On-line version ISSN 1678-4375

Braz. J. Biol. vol.79 no.4 São Carlos Nov. 2019  Epub Nov 14, 2018

http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/1519-6984.193049 

Notes and Comments

Women and Science: a portrait of herpetology in the state of Piauí

R. A. Benícioa  * 

M. G. Fonsecab 

aPrograma de Pós-graduação em Ecologia e Recursos Naturais, Universidade Federal de São Carlos – UFSCar, Rodovia Washington Luiz, Km 235, CEP 13565-905, São Carlos, SP, Brasil

bUniversidade Federal do Piauí – UFPI, Campus Senador Helvídio Nunes de Barros, Rua Cícero Duarte, 905, CEP 64600-000, Picos, PI, Brasil

Recently a Brazilian researcher has received great attention in national and international media by prize Rising Talents from L'Oreal's For Women in Science program 2016, which has partnered with Unesco and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, and awards women scientists who have contributed significantly to the advancement of Science. However, locally, what does this award represent? Does it, in fact, demonstrate a greater participation of women in science? How is the participation of women scientists in Piauí? What is the representativeness of women in the publications of herpetology in Piauí?

With the objective of make a punctual portrait of this representativeness, here, we analyzed, in a very preliminary way, the representativeness of women scientists in the publications on herpetology in the state of Piauí. For this, we analyzed publications (national and international) about all the aspects of herpetology (e.g., community ecology, new species records, species lists and description of new species) carried out in the state of Piauí between 2001 and 2017, through extensive searches on the websites Web of Science (2018) , Google Scholar (2018) and specialized journals. We chose the state of Piauí as an empirical universe because it is my state of origin (first author) and herpetology because it is our specialty. In addition, in this case, the state of Piauí represents an important model of study because the number of publications about the herpetology of the state has grown exponentially in the last ten years, through the publication of a considerable number of studies.

We found that there is still a very great inequality in the representation of women in science in the state of Piauí (specifically in herpetology). Although there has been a greater participation of women in the publications on the herpetology in the state of Piauí in recent years, its representativeness is much lower in relation to the number of authors men ( Figure 1 ). For example, in the years 2001, 2005 and 2006, no woman was author or co-author of the works published in those years. In addition, during the 17 years analyzed, only in 2007 the number of women in the publications was higher than that of men ( Figure 1 ).

Figure 1 Distribution of the number of men and women authors in the 49 articles analyzed on herpetology in the state of Piauí between the years 2001 and 2017. There was no publication in the years 2002 and 2003.  

To date, were published 49 articles on herpetology in the state of Piauí, in 21 national and international circulation journals ( Table 1 ). Of these, 92% (n = 45) of the articles were published by men, being that in 71% (n = 35) of them a man was the principal author. In 71% (n = 35) of articles was composed by women, however, in only 30% (n = 15) of all published articles the women were the first authors. These 15 articles were written by only seven women, one of which published 5 of them. Thus, to date, all research done with the herpetology in the state of Piauí has been concentrated in seven women.

Table 1 Articles (ART) on herpetology in the state of Piauí, between 2001 and 2017.  

ART Journal N_A N_M N_W
ART1 * Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 3 3 0
ART2 Publicações Avulsas Ciências Ambientais 2 1 1
ART3 * Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 2 2 0
ART4 * South American Journal of Herpetology 2 2 0
ART5 Check List 5 3 2
ART6 Herpetological Review 4 1 3
ART7 Herpetological Review 3 1 2
ART8 Check List 2 1 1
ART9 Herpetological Review 3 2 1
ART10 Herpetological Review 3 2 1
ART11 ** South American Journal of Herpetology 2 0 2
ART12 Herpetological Review 5 4 1
ART13 Check List 3 2 1
ART14 * Zootaxa 4 4 0
ART15 Check List 3 2 1
ART16 * Check List 4 4 0
ART17 * Herpetology Notes 5 5 0
ART18 ** Zoologia 2 0 2
ART19 Check List 3 2 1
ART20 * Herpetology Notes 2 2 0
ART21 Check List 3 2 1
ART22 * Boletín de la Asociación Herpetológica Española 3 3 0
ART23 * Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 4 4 0
ART24 * Biota Neotropica 3 3 0
ART25 * Zootaxa 3 3 0
ART26 ** Zootaxa 2 0 2
ART27 ZooKeys 6 3 3
ART28 Cuadernos de Herpetología 2 1 1
ART29 Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi 3 2 1
ART30 Check List 11 8 3
ART31 International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 5 2 3
ART32 Herpetological Review 5 2 3
ART33 Gaia Scientia 3 2 1
ART34 Gaia Scientia 4 3 1
ART35 International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 5 2 3
ART36 Journal of Herpetology 5 4 1
ART37 Zootaxa 6 3 3
ART38 Boletim do Museu de Biologia Mello Leitão 3 2 1
ART39 Herpetological Review 5 2 3
ART40 * Biota Neotropica 5 5 0
ART41 International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 6 3 3
ART42 Revista Nordestina de Zoologia 4 2 2
ART43 Revista Nordestina de Zoologia 3 2 1
ART44 Tropical Zoology 6 3 3
ART45 Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 3 2 1
ART46 * Brazilian Journal of Biology 4 4 0
ART47 Revista Nordestina de Zoologia 4 3 1
ART48 Austral Ecology 10 7 3
ART49 Revista Nordestina de Zoologia 3 2 1

N_A = numbers of authors; N_M = numbers of authors men; N_W = numbers of authors women;

*Article composed exclusively by men;

**Article composed exclusively by women.

Although there is no difference in the professional quality of these authors (e.g., most have Ph.D.), the number of men and women who composed the articles was quite uneven, in number and composition. In the 49 articles analyzed, the number of times a man's name (n = 127) appeared as the author was significantly greater (p < 0.001) than the number of times a woman's name (n = 64) appeared as the author or co-author. Furthermore, about 27% of the articles (n = 13) were composed exclusively of men, whereas only three articles had exclusively women as authors and coauthors ( Table 1 ).

This inequality certainly does not result from a difference in the professional capacity of women, but rather of a clear inequality in the labor market insertion, hiring teachers, lower wages, fewer funded and approved projects, and inequality each professional transition stage ( Carnaval, 2016 ). Currently, the state of Piauí does not have any Postgraduate Program (masters and PhD level) in the area of Zoology or Ecology ( Plataforma Sucupira, 2018 ). This should be an important factor to consider. Although this work portrays a punctual view of the local reality and of a specific area, being necessary to know how does Piauí compare with other states, and other academic or professional areas, not only in herpetology, this study represents a formidable opportunity to collect, organize, present and discuss important data on academic representation and demonstrates the urgent need to create means and a greater incentive for the participation of women in scientific productivity in the state of Piauí.

Acknowledgements

R.A. Benício thanks Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, Proc. 2015/11821-0) for financial support.

(With 1 figure)

References

CARNAVAL, A.C., 2016. Breve reflexão sobre mulheres cientistas, e nossa representatividade na Sociedade Brasileira de Herpetologia. Herpetologia Brasileira, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 47-48. [ Links ]

GOOGLE SCHOLAR [online], 2018 [viewed 16 March 2018]. Available from: http://scholar.google.com.br Links ]

PLATAFORMA SUCUPIRA [online], 2018 [viewed 16 March 2018]. Available from: https://sucupira.capes.gov.br [ Links ]

WEB OF SCIENCE [online], 2018 [viewed 16 March 2018]. Available from: http://apps.isiknowledge.com Links ]

Received: March 16, 2018; Accepted: April 19, 2018

Creative Commons License  This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.