Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

[Comment on “Looking at gender distribution among AGU Fellows”] An open letter to Ellen Druffel



I would like to congratulate you on your excellent study of the gender distribution of AGU Fellows [Eos, Sept. 13, 1994]. However, I must take issue with your interpretation of some of the data. First of all you concentrate on the inequity in the awarding of AGU Fellowships. I, on the other hand, look at Figure 3 with amazement that, considering the obstacles in women's careers, the ratios are as good as they are. If you added only one 80-year-old woman, two 70-year-old women, two 60-year-olds and four 50-year-olds, the curves would look almost identical. Surely, it would be possible this year to elect 9 women to Fellowship out of the 30 Fellows to be elected. This change seems possible especially in sections like GP and Hydrology that clearly have a surplus of good female candidates, since none have been elected for some time. I think that the deficit can quickly be eliminated with just a modicum of attention to identifying the previously overlooked candidates and securing nominations for them. The following is some advice on the process, based on my nomination of two female candidate Fellows, one of whom was successful and one of whom thus far has not been successful.