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The role of women in British Quaternary science

J. K. Hart
J. K. Hart
School of Geography, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK (e-mail:
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January 01, 2007


This study represents the first attempt to record the lives of women who have contributed to the field of Quaternary science. A list of women who lived or studied in the United Kingdom and Ireland was drawn up from suggestions provided by members of the British Quaternary Research Association (QRA). These were divided into three categories: pre-20th century, 20th century and retired. The lives of some of these women are described. It was particularly interesting that in the pre-20th-century and 20th-century categories, the number of geomorphologists was equal to the number of archaeologists/palaeoecologists. In addition, a study was undertaken of women physical geographers in British geography departments, which was compared with the results from a similar survey in 1996. In this way, recent changes (the last 10 years) in women in Quaternary science could also be evaluated. It was shown that although there was an increase in the number of women physical geography academics since 1996, the actual percentage of women had gone down, and although the percentage of women professors had risen, men's chance of reaching this position was still much higher. However, it is argued that the key element of women in Quaternary science, both today and in the past, is their enthusiasm for fieldwork, and it is this passion that enabled them to continue their studies whatever the current social conventions.

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Figures & Tables


Geological Society, London, Special Publications

The Role of Women in the History of Geology

C. V. Burek
C. V. Burek
University of Chester, UK
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B. Higgs
B. Higgs
University College Cork, Ireland
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Geological Society of London
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2007




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