Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 18 Issue 01

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Volume 18, No. 1
Pages 35 - 38


A Community Effort Toward the Retention of Women in Physical Oceanography

M. Susan Lozier
First Paragraph

Efforts over the past several decades to increase the number of women entering science and engineering fields have largely been successful, with undergraduate and graduate school enrollments averaging between 30 and 50 percent women (Nelson, 2002). Ph.D. attainments show similar progress; however, the percentage of women occupying tenure-track university positions has not risen commensurably. Across the board, women in science and engineering fill on average only 15 to 25 percent of academic positions (Nelson, 2002). Because the number of women in graduate school has been sufficiently large for at least a decade, it is difficult to ascribe the lower percentage of women in faculty positions to a small pool of potential candidates. As reported in the December 3, 2004 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education in the article “Where the Elite Teach, It’s Still a Man’s World,” the disparity between the number of women trained in a field and the number of women occupying positions in that field is instead attributed by some to subtle biases that keep women out of research or academic positions, while others argue that women are consciously choosing alternate careers (to read the full text, go to http://chronicle.com/free/v51/i15/15a00801.htm). The focus of this article and the community effort it describes is on the latter attribution, namely that women are opting out of the “pipeline” in the early years of their scientific careers. Thus, while recruitment efforts on their own should be lauded, we need to also turn our attention to the retention of women already trained in the field if we are to capitalize on the investment that funding agencies and universities have made on the education of women students, and, importantly, if we are to create a scientific workforce whose diversity matches that of the student population and, in a broader sense, that of the US population as a whole.


Lozier, M.S. 2005. A community effort toward the retention of women in physical oceanography. Oceanography 18(1):35–38, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2005.68.

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