GENDER IN THE GEOSCIENCES: FACTORS RELATED TO THE RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION OF WOMEN
We collected survey data from six US geoscience programs. A total of 229 individuals (35% male, 62% female, and 3% unreported) completed both a pre- and post-survey. Participants were majors (38%) and non-majors (62%). The personal factors and TE scales were adapted from previously validated measures. Connection to instructor, inclination to major and intent to pursue a career in the geosciences were developed for this study. All measures had acceptable reliability statistics.
Hierarchical multiple regression was used to explore whether personal factors, connection to instructor, and TE predicted pursuing a major and a career in the geosciences. Both connection to instructor and TE were significant predictors of inclination to major and pursue a career, even when controlling for students’ initial self-efficacy and interest/identity. The final model explained a considerable amount of variance and contributes much to understanding academic and career choice. When exploring gender differences, more variance was explained for females and connection to instructor was only a significant predictor in the model for females. Not only was connection to instructor more important for females, they tended to perceive less connection to their instructors and, underwent lesser degrees of TE.
Implications are that instructors can support the recruitment and retention of women in the geosciences by developing stronger connections with students and teaching for TE.