Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Geotimes (September 2003). Copyright 2003/2009, American Geological Institute. Used by permission.


Most geoscientists agree that gender equity is a worthy goal for our field, but there is disagreement as to how to measure gender equity and what it actually means. Will the geosciences achieve gender equity when the proportion of women on our faculty and in professional positions accurately reflects the proportion in our undergraduate classes? Or is gender equity 50 percent of all positions in all fields, including undergraduate enrollment? By any of these measures, we are not yet there. Women earned 40 percent of the undergraduate degrees in geoscience (geology, oceanography, atmospheric sciences, geophysics) in 2001, and 38 percent of all the master’s degrees — both an all-time high. The proportion of women receiving Ph.D.s and filling professional positions listed in the American Geological Institute’s Directory of Geoscience Departments, however, is far behind these percentages, indicating some rather large leaks in the pipeline for women.