How we look and what we see: Twenty years of women in GSA Today
In the 1960s and 1970s, Dr. Erving Goffman conducted gender studies on images and roles in advertising that established a framework for analyzing gender displays in print publications. Current efforts to increase diversity in professions advocate for media outreach to represent diverse populations so the groups they want to attract can imagine themselves fitting in. GSA Today, whether deliberately or not, is doing just that. This paper adapts Goffman’s “gender advertisements” methodology to analyze the portrayal of women in volumes 5 through 25 of GSA Today, the last full twenty years of monthly publications on news and information for the Geological Society of America. Two forms of gender identity are explored: photographs containing people and authors of content articles. While the number of women GSA members increased over the past 20 years, the representation of women in the Society’s publication also increased. In January 1995, women comprised 22% of people pictured in GSA Today and 17% of named authors providing written content. By December 2015, women accounted for 56% of individuals in photos and 36% of content authors. Trends demonstrate periods of rapid increase in representation and plateaus. Shifts in percentages did not correlate directly with changes in Society leadership or GSA Today editorial staff. Thanks to the ease of access to archived publications, future work can provide further insights assessing efforts to inspire career choices in geology and to encourage women to feel valued and welcomed in this profession.
Figures & Tables
Women have been a part of the story of geology from the beginning, but they have struggled to gain professional opportunities, equal pay, and respect as scientists for decades. Some have been dismissed, some have been forced to work without pay, and some have been denied credit. This volume highlights the progress of women in geology, including past struggles and how remarkable individuals were able to overcome them, current efforts to draw positive attention and perceptions to women in the science, and recruitment and mentorship efforts to attract and retain the next generation of women in geology. Chapters include the first American women researchers in Antarctica, a survey of Hollywood disaster movies and the casting of women as geologists, social media campaigns such as #365ScienceSelfies, and the stories of the Association for Women Geoscientists and the Earth Science Women’s Network and their work to support and mentor women in geology.