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NIH director will no longer participate in all-male panels

In this image, Collins is sitting in a chair wearing a suit.
Collins speaks at a panel during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference on April 29, 2019. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, will no longer participate in all-male speaking panels, per a statement released on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Majority or all-male panels, or "manels," have received some public criticism in recent years for not incorporating women's voices and professional experiences, or for not considering those experiences as valuable as men's. From 2013 to 2018, "men outnumbered women 2 to 1 as event speakers," NPR reports.

What he's saying: "Starting now, when I consider speaking invitations, I will expect a level playing field, where scientists of all backgrounds are evaluated fairly for speaking opportunities. If that attention to inclusiveness is not evident in the agenda, I will decline to take part. I challenge other scientific leaders across the biomedical enterprise to do the same."

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