Participation of Women in Geoscience Occupations

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The percentage of women earning geoscience degrees has increased steadily over the past two decades and in 2009, reached 43%. However, the representation of women in geoscience occupations continues to lag the percentage of women completing degrees in the discipline. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the percentage of women in environmental science and geoscience occupations has not exceeded 30 percent since 2003. A look at higher resolution data from NSF’s SESTAT 2006 dataset reveals that in comparison to other science and engineering disciplines, the percentage of women in geoscience occupations is only higher than women in engineering occupations.

Participation of women in environmental science and geoscience occupations as compared to all occupations (2003-2009). Source: AGI Geoscience Workforce Program, data derived from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey.

Participation of women in science and engineering occupations (2006). Source: AGI Geoscience Workforce Program, data derived from NSF's SESTAT 2006 Restricted Access Database.

Examination of detailed occupation classifications reveals the variation of gender parity within geoscience occupations. The highest percentage of women in geoscience occupations occurs in oceanography (28%), and the lowest percentage in mining and geological engineering occupations (2%).

View an in-depth discussion of this information in the corresponding Geoscience Currents Discussion Webinar.

Participation of women in detailed geoscience occupations (2006). Source: AGI Geoscience Workforce Program, data derived from NSF's SESTAT 2006 Restricted Access Database.

Date updated: 2010-05-14
Data Brief 2010-006
Written and compiled by Leila Gonzales for AGI, May 2010

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