Building community to advance women in the geosciences through the Earth Science Women’s Network
Rebecca T. Barnes, Erika Marín-Spiotta, Aisha R. Morris, 2018. "Building community to advance women in the geosciences through the Earth Science Women’s Network", Women and Geology: Who Are We, Where Have We Come From, and Where Are We Going?, Beth A. Johnson
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Informal networks play a critical role in advancing careers by providing peer support. This is particularly important in fields where women are grossly underrepresented, because peer networks can reduce feelings of isolation and provide access to information and opportunities for professional development. The power of networks lies in their ability to mobilize people and information for educational and institutional change. Here we highlight the example of the Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN), which grew from a group of six female graduate students and postdocs to a non-profit organization with more than 3,000 members worldwide in 15 years. ESWN’s activities support women at all career stages and include a program for undergraduate students. Today, ESWN is partnering with larger professional societies to improve work climate conditions and shape a more inclusive society, particularly in light of incidences of sexual harassment. We describe the evolution of ESWN in response to membership needs and as a model for online and in-person community building. The ESWN community supports peer mentoring that builds upon personal connections to catalyze cultural and institutional change for the advancement and promotion of women in the geosciences.
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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.