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Building community to advance women in the geosciences through the Earth Science Women’s Network

Rebecca T. Barnes
Rebecca T. Barnes
Colorado College, Environmental Program, 14 E. Cache La Poudre, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903, USA
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Erika Marín-Spiotta
Erika Marín-Spiotta
University of Wisconsin–Madison, Department of Geography, 550 North Park Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA
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Aisha R. Morris
Aisha R. Morris
UNAVCO, Inc., 6350 Nautilus Drive, Boulder, Colorado 80301, USA
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Publication history
17 January 201805 June 2018


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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GSA Memoirs

Women and Geology: Who Are We, Where Have We Come From, and Where Are We Going?

Geological Society of America
ISBN electronic:




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