GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 195-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


COHEN, Phoebe, Geosciences, Williams College, 947 Main Street, Williamstown, MA 01267, STIGALL, Alycia L., Department of Geological Sciences and OHIO Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies, Ohio University, 316 Clippinger Laboratories, Athens, OH 45701 and TOPAZ, Chad M., Mathematics and Statistics, Williams College, Williamstown, MA 01267

Gender disparities still exist in many STEM fields, including paleontology, despite decades of efforts to attract and retain women into STEM fields. These disparities are often more pronounced at the level of senior researchers. One way to identify both progress and continuing problems is by looking at trends in data. This study focuses on gender, inferred using the database from first names of Paleontological Society (PS) members, authors, awardees, grant recipients, officers, and committee members focusing on the years 2000-2018.

Our results show that the proportion of PS members with female-gendered names has remained relatively constant over our time interval of analysis. There has been a significant lag in PS awards to women, despite a constant pool of potential women awardees. We also find a notable increase in the proportion of PS committee and officer participation by women over the study interval.

PS is doing a good job at gender equity at the student level, but equity declines with career progression. Service burdens are falling disproportionately to women, whereas executive leadership roles and prestige awards are male dominated. We discuss the many factors leading to this trend including over-burdening of service for the relatively small number of senior women. Overall, there have been positive changes in gender equity in publications and awards in the last 5-10 years. However, these improvements are not necessarily self-sustaining and more work is needed to continue to improve inclusion and equity

These data show important areas where the society is doing well (mainly at the student level) and areas that need improvement (mainly at the mid and late career level). This study does not address the persistent under-representation of people of color, LGBTQ people, and other dimensions of identity, but we hope that it serves as a focal point for future conversations within the discipline and the society.