World acclaimed The Lancet Journals, best known for general medical journals, have taken a new Diversity Pledge and No All-Male Panel Policy in order to increase gender equality in the organisation. Earlier in the year, The Lancet published a theme-based issue called #LancetWomen on women in science, medicine, and global health. It revealed the institutionalised gender discrimination proved detrimental to women’s growth and equality in the industry.

“The Lancet Group is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in research and publishing, and in particular to increasing the representation of women and colleagues from low-income and middle-income countries among our editorial advisers, peer reviewers, and authors,” the group pledged.

For the no all-male panel, they stated, “Our editors will not serve as panellists at a public conference or event when there are no women on the panel. For events that we organise or plan, we aim for at least 50% female speakers. Our preference is for women to be included as panellists, not only as chairs or moderators.”

Talking about the motivation behind taking these pledges and policies in operation, Dr Jocalyn Clark, Executive Editor of The Lancet, told The Indian Express that part of the motivation for Lancet’s diversity pledge and no all-male panel policy, and the theme issue was the growing recognition of the extent to which gender inequities create barriers to women’s advancement and rights within the scientific and healthy workplaces.

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Lancet editors agreed to the evidence that women and people of colour are vastly under-represented in author, reviewer, and editorial positions across scientific and medical journals and stated these inequities to be contrary to their values and track record of advocacy as a journal.

Our editors will not serve as panellists at a public conference or event when there are no women on the panel. For events that we organise or plan, we aim for at least 50% female speakers. Our preference is for women to be included as panellists, not only as chairs or moderators.

“Whether with social justice or a business lens, the case for gender equity and diversity is clear: teams that are diverse in terms of gender, ethnicity, and social background produce better health science, are more highly cited, generate a broader range of ideas and innovations, and better represent society. The costs associated with lack of equity and diversity is huge: waste of expertise and investment, loss of the rights and opportunities for women and diverse groups, and a loss to institutions and society of their creativity, productivity, and inspiration,” said the Editors of the Lancet group in a statement.

The Lancet Group’s media briefings and co-sponsored events and conferences, and all communications activity will also not be manels as claimed to be ensured by their Communications, Marketing, and Media teams.

“As editors and journals we are just one part of an ecosystem that includes academic institutions and research funders where unacceptable gender bias is well documented, and of a broader society that disadvantages certain groups to create an uneven and unfair playing field,” they added in their statement.

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