Recognizing biases that affect women geoscientists in the workplace

Penny King, Amanda EDWARDS, Nerilie Abram

Research output: Contribution to Newspaper/Magazine/BulletinArticle


Women are underrepresented in the geosciences. Many different factors affect a woman’s ability to continue and succeed in science. These include a lack of senior women role models; the need for people in partnerships to decide whose career to follow and then to obtain satisfying long-term jobs; inescapable career interruptions for women who choose to have children; and a social bias and expectation that women will take on significant family responsibilities. Programs have been initiated worldwide to try to improve the representation of women in science, and many organizations have aspirations to increase diversity and the fair treatment of women in their workplaces. Yet gender diversity continues to be a systemic problem in the geosciences. In this article, we focus on biases – presumptions that we all have and that we can learn to recognize and actively manage. Many studies show that we impede women’s advancement through inadvertent biases in our decision-making, judgment and day-to-day actions (e.g. Ross 2008). How does this happen in the workplaces of “good,” well-intentioned scientists, of all genders, who are trained to think rationally and systematically?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Specialist publicationElements
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


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