Paper No. 13
Presentation Time: 11:10 AM


HALLOCK, Pamela, College of Marine Science, University of South Florida, 140 7th Ave South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701,

On June 23, 1972, President Nixon signed Title IX of the Education Amendments, a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Today, Title IX is largely forgotten except in the context of opportunities for girls and women in sports. Few realize that this law is why women students now often outnumber men in disciplines that actively excluded women until 1972. I recall because I was a pre-Title IX applicant to graduate schools; I know women who were not allowed to pursue undergraduate degrees in geology, or were not allowed to participate in field camp, weakening their credentials and reducing employment opportunities. Gender discrimination created walls; Title IX created doors allowing through a few women who became mentors and role models for the flood of talented young women who have since kicked the walls down!

In August 1978, I was hired by a small university in west Texas. Two members of the three-person department had been hired by oil companies earlier in the summer and the Dean had no one to cover their fall classes. I initially was hired as a Visiting Assistant Professor because industry contacts had assured the Dean that “Women geologists would never be accepted in the oil patch”. By the end of my five years in Texas, women geoscience students outnumbered men and I was a Vice President of the Permian Basin SEPM. I then joined a graduate-research department, spending my first nine years as the only woman faculty member and most of the past 25 years as the only female Full Professor. In that time I have provided mentoring to hundreds of women students, whether or not I had any role on their graduate advisory committees. Women have outnumbered men in the graduate-student ranks since the early 1990s.

A few years ago a woman became Dean of the (now) college and the power of one again was revealed. There are now seven women on our faculty, including three Full Professors. We still have a long way to go: for women the faculty-student ratio is 1:10; for men it is 1:2. Universally, women still face huge challenges in balancing career and family responsibilities, so employment opportunities that do not require 60-80 hour weeks or extended times in the field can influence education and career choices. But at least women now have choices, a consequence of the amazing power of one law: Title IX.