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, 30 November 2015

AGU blog - Women don beards for documentary about inequality in the geosciences

By Lexi Jamieson Marsh

“I want to be a paleontologist,” I thought as a kid, probably like many others who yearned to go outside and hunt for fossils. But as the years went on and my dinosaur wallpaper faded in my childhood bedroom, paleontology seemed to be a job for people in books and on television. Then I met Ellen Currano.
When Ellen confided in me that she doesn’t feel like she fits the image of a paleontologist, I was speechless. Ellen can never just be one scientist among many, she told me, because she is a woman. She has to disprove the stereotype that women are weak while exhibiting herself as a success story – a woman who can make it in a man’s world – adding pressure to an already intense workload. She can’t just do her work, she has to somehow be more. And, she isn’t the only woman in science to feel this way: only five percent of officers at the Paleontological Society, a professional organization for paleontologists, have been women over the society’s 100-year history.
We women can reference numbers like these to concretize our personal experiences of being outsiders, but the truth is, very few of those in a position of power will look to these numbers as the inspiration to enact the change we so desperately need. We need something more, something a bit avant-garde, and yet something that can still inspire.
One evening while discussing this issue, Ellen exclaimed “I wish I could just walk into the room with a fake beard on my face. That would make my life so much easier!”

Read the full blog post here.

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