M-AAA-nsplaining: Gender bias in questions asked at the American Anthropological Association's Annual Meetings. Academic Article uri icon


  • A large body of research has revealed the challenges that disproportionately affect women as they climb the academic ladder. One area that has received relatively little attention is women's experiences at academic conferences, which are often integral to academics' professional development. As conferences are attended by professional colleagues and influential players in specific fields, the professional consequences of any gender bias in criticism are likely to be amplified at such venues. Here, we explore the degree to which the likelihood of audience members asking a question and offering criticism is associated with the gender of a presenter. Audience questions were tabulated during the authors' visits to the three American Anthropological Association Annual Meetings. The results suggested that men were indeed marginally more likely to ask a question, both when considering all types of questions and when considering only critical questions. However, there was no evidence that they differentially targeted women for these questions. Future research might explore what motivates assertive and critical speech in men and women and how their experiences in receiving it might differ, particularly in academic settings in which critical speech might be considered more acceptable.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

altmetric score

  • 1.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Winking, J., Hopkins, A. L., Yeoman, M., & Arcak, C.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Winking, Jeffrey||Hopkins, Allison L||Yeoman, Michelle||Arcak, Cory

editor list (cited editors)

  • Kuivaniemi, H.

publication date

  • January 2019