Athena Swan

Athena Swan promotes and supports the careers of women in Science, Engineering and Technology (STEM), and aims to address gender inequalities and imbalance in these disciplines and, in particular, the under-representation of women in senior roles.

Monday, 1 December 2014

In the news - Evolution of paleontology: Long-term gender trends in an earth-science discipline

Recent work on the gender balance of abstract submissions to the largest palaeontological conference in north America, the North American Paleontological Convention, provides very promising evidence that efforts to raise the profile and number of female contributors is making a difference. This article suggests that the number of female authors is rising, largely due to collaborations with more senior (typically male) colleagues, although efforts are still needed to get mid- and late-career women represented as keynote speakers and convenors.

The historical development of gender diversity in paleontology may be representative of similar changes across the geosciences. An analysis of the programs of the ten North American Paleontological Conventions held since 1969 shows a steady increase in the participation by women in the discipline. Notably, the proportion of male authorship on abstracts was stable while female authorship contribution increased. Much of the growth in female authorship is due to increased collaboration and recognition of student participation with junior authorship. These changes are just starting to be reflected at more senior levels; strategies need to be implemented to ensure that young female geoscientists are retained and developed.

Roy E. Plotnick, Alycia L. Stigall, Ioana Stefanescu; GSA Today, November 2014, doi:10.1130/GSATG219GW.1

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