Academic specialties in U.S. are shifting; hiring of women geoscientists is stagnating

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Abstract

Women have been receiving a greater proportion of the bachelor's and master's degrees in the geosciences over the last 10 years, reaching near 40% in 2000 (latest data available), while receiving only 28% of the Ph.D.s that year. Women are now only 20% of assistant professors at Ph.D.-granting institutions, a proportion that has not changed in the last 4 years. As part of a larger study to find what key barriers continue to prevent larger numbers of women geoscientists from becoming academics, data have been compiled from the National Science Board [NSB, 2002] and the American Geological Institute's (AGI) Directory of Geoscience Departments [Claudy, 2001] on geoscience specialty by gender.

The data are broken down by the specialty of the Ph.D., and compared to hiring rates at Ph.D.-granting institutions over the last 10 years. These institutions are the focus because they are the source of future Ph.D.s, and diversity of their faculty is critical to assuring diversity and consequent intellectual vigor and strength of our future academic workforce. The data reveal both a slight shift in the subdisciplines of all geoscientists employed in tenure-track positions at Ph.D.-granting institutions, and that hiring of women into tenure-track positions in specific subdisciplines has not kept pace with their Ph.D. production during that time.

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