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Female Health Policy Researchers Get Fewer Shares on Twitter [Study]

Female researchers are facing gender disparity in social media influence when it comes to promoting research and gaining visibility on different platforms, a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found.

The study conducted by researchers at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania noted that female health policy or health services researchers, especially those with full professorships, are likely to get fewer likes and retweets per year on Twitter in comparison to men.

Researchers analyzed metrics on twitter use for 3,148 speakers and coauthors of research presented at AcademyHealth’s 2018 Annual Research Meeting and found women generating 45 percent fewer average likes and 48 percent fewer retweets when compared to men.

“By giving women an accessible and seemingly equitable platform on which to present themselves, some hoped that social media would help level the playing field in academic medicine,” said senior author Rachel M. Werner, a professor of General Internal Medicine at Penn Medicine.

“However, our study clearly shows that unfortunately, women’s voices are less influential, even on Twitter, which suggests social media may in fact have the opposite effect.”

Among junior researchers, the study noted lesser gender disparity on social media influence citing greater gender parity among younger researchers.

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