Righting the balance: Gender diversity in the geosciences

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Abstract

The blatant barriers are down. Women are now routinely chief scientists on major cruises, lead field parties to all continents, and have risen to leadership positions in professional organizations, academic departments, and funding agencies. Nonetheless, barriers remain. Women continue to be under-represented in the Earth, ocean, and atmospheric sciences. Let's do the numbers: As of 1997, women received 41% of all Ph.D.s in science and engineering, but only 29% of the doctorates in the Earth, atmospheric, and oceanographic sciences [NSF, 1999a]. Women were 23% of employed Ph.D.s across all fields of science, but only accounted for 13% in the geosciences. Women's salaries also lag: the median salary for all Ph.D. geoscientists was $60,000; for women, the figure is $47,000 [NSF, 1999b]. The growing number of women students is a step in the right direction, but only a step.

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