2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM


O'CONNELL, Suzanne, E&ES, Wesleyan Univ, 265 Church St, Middletown, CT 06459 and HOLMES, Mary Anne, Geosciences, Univ of Nebraska-Lincoln, 214 Bessey Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588-0340, soconnell@wesleyan.edu

Between 1994 and 2003, 7,970 PhD's were award in the earth sciences, 1609 (20%) to women. Despite the gains PhD awards (17% in 1994 to 24% in 2003), women continue to lag behind men in entering tenure-track academic positions. Even when entering academia, women are less likely to be employed at PhD-granting institutions. We are in the process of identifying why so many women do not take tenure –track jobs and in particular are women not applying or are they not being hired.

Our preliminary results suggest that there are steps that academic institutions can take to insure women are in the applicant pool, that the job is attractive and that these women will eventually achieve tenure. These “Best Practices” include:

Hiring. Aggressively seek women applicants. Identify potential women applicants by, 1) contacting professors in the discipline to see if they have or know of women who are completing a PhD or in a post-doctoral position and 2) attending talks at GSA and AGU in the hiring discipline to identify women with the required expertise. Once identified these women should be contacted directly and asked to apply.

Academic Job. Family issues – children and partners are commonly identified hurdles to women's success in academia.

Flexible appointment - The graduate-school/tenure clock overlaps with a woman's childbearing biological clock. This can be accommodated by a flexible tenure clock, one that allows the clock to be stopped for 1 to 3 semesters for family leave and that provides paid family leave options. On-site and affordable child-care is also important.

Dual-career - Jobs for partners are equally important. More women with PhD's than men with PhD's are likely to be married to other PhD's. Thus the dual career problem is more acute for women. Academic institutions need to have hiring options for partners, especially those in the same discipline where the opportunity for a position at the same institution is small. At a minimum this should include an office, lab and appointment that will allow for grant writing and other scholarly activity. There should also be options for joint contracts, shared positions, and, where possible, job searches that include positions are nearby institutions. Details of this information are available at the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG) web site: www.awg.org/gendereq.html.