Gse/Res Collaborative Research: Recruitment and Retention of Women In Geosciences: An Investigation of Individual and
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Intellectual Merit: The goal of this proposed collaborative research project is to contribute to the knowledge needed to increase the proportion of women receiving undergraduate geoscience degrees from U.S. universities. The proportion of women earning undergraduate geoscience degrees has stagnated at approximately 40% for the past 6 years, while women constitute only about 20% of working geoscientists. The American Geological Institute reports that the 40% level may represent a ceiling for female geoscience graduates. Most other STEM fields are closer than the geosciences to achieving gender parity. Little empirical research has investigated why women major in geoscience or how women''s choices differ from men''s choices to select and persist in a geoscience degree. This study would fill this research gap by studying why some geoscience programs are more successful than others at recruiting and retaining a high percentage of female students. Specifically, the researchers will study the characteristics of geoscience programs, students, and faculty at one set of universities with above-average graduation of female geoscience students and another set of universities with below-average graduation of female geoscience students. The study would be guided by Social Cognitive Career Theory and will use mixed methods research methods. Broader Impacts: This project will contribute to the knowledge needed to increase the proportion of women receiving undergraduate geoscience degrees from U.S. universities. Ultimately, this may increase the proportion of women choosing geosciences careers. Results will be disseminated widely to geosciences departments for recruiting and retaining female geosciences majors including recommendations for concrete steps that may achieve gender parity.