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We need to talk about manels: the problem of implicit gender bias in sport and exercise medicine
  1. Sheree Bekker1,
  2. Osman H Ahmed2,3,
  3. Ummukulthoum Bakare4,5,
  4. Tracy A Blake6,7,
  5. Alison M Brooks8,
  6. Todd E Davenport9,
  7. Luciana De Michelis Mendonça10,
  8. Lauren V Fortington11,
  9. Michael Himawan12,
  10. Joanne L Kemp13,
  11. Karen Litzy12,
  12. Roland F Loh14,
  13. James MacDonald15,
  14. Carly D McKay16,
  15. Andrea B Mosler13,
  16. Margo Mountjoy17,
  17. Ann Pederson18,
  18. Melanie I Stefan19,20,
  19. Emma Stokes21,22,
  20. Amy J Vassallo23,24,
  21. Jackie L Whittaker25
  1. 1 Unaffiliated, South Africa
  2. 2 Bournemouth University, Bournemouth, UK
  3. 3 The FA Centre for Disability Football Research, The Football Association, UK
  4. 4 Physiotherapy Department, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  5. 5 Medical and Scientific Commission, Nigeria Olympic Committee, Lagos, Nigeria
  6. 6 Department of Physiotherapy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  7. 7 Canadian Sport Institute Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  8. 8 University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
  9. 9 Department of Physical Therapy, University of the Pacific, Stockton, California, USA
  10. 10 Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri (UFVJM), Diamantina, Brazil
  11. 11 Australian Centre for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  12. 12 Unaffiliated, USA
  13. 13 La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  14. 14 Kingston University London, London, UK
  15. 15 Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  16. 16 Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK
  17. 17 McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  18. 18 BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  19. 19 Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  20. 20 ZJU-UoE Institute, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
  21. 21 World Confederation for Physical Therapy, London, UK
  22. 22 Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  23. 23 University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  24. 24 Franklin Women, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  25. 25 University of Alberta and Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sheree Bekker; shereebekker{at}gmail.com

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In 2015, a website (www.allmalepanels.tumblr.com/) began documenting instances of all-male panels (colloquially known as a ‘manel’). This, along with the Twitter hashtag #manel, has helped drive recognition of the persistent and pervasive gender bias in the composition of experts assembled to present at conferences and other events.

Recent social media discussions have similarly highlighted the prevalence of all-male panels in Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM). While, to our knowledge, all-male panel trends in SEM have not yet formally been documented or published, one need look no further than SEM conference committees, keynote speaker lists, panels and other events to see that it exists in practice. Why, in 2018, is SEM and its related disciplines still failing to identify and acknowledge the role that implicit bias plays in the very structure of our own research, practice and education? SEM is, after all, a profession that contains experts, and serves populations, of all genders.

This editorial will introduce the definition, implications and manifestations of implicit gender bias and then explore how the SEM community can begin to address this issue, advance the discussion and develop a more equitable global community.

What is implicit bias?

Social cognitive theory describes ‘implicit bias’ as the unconscious …

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