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Oceanography started out as a predominantly male field of science. Nowadays many women are interested in marine science, but they may face many barriers on the path to a successful career. SWiMS aims to be a source of support for women in marine science, across all types of careers and institutions/companies.

HERstory of Oceanography: Quote

Globally, less than 30% of science researchers are women (UIS Fact Sheet, 2019) and even fewer hold senior faculty positions (Kamm et al, 2020). Additionally, ‘women belonging to marginalized groups, including people of colour, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people of differing abilities, face heightened obstacles in the sciences’ (Kamm et al, 2020). In marine and ocean sciences specifically, women have traditionally been excluded from science research- especially on-board ships- and have only recently been provided the opportunity to participate in ocean-going research trips for the last 60 years (Duncombe, 2019). While women now comprise 38% of ocean researchers (IOC-UNESCO) and are increasingly participating in ocean research (Hendry, 2020), female scientists continue to experience implicit and explicit bias, lack of support, and logistical and safety hurdles on board vessels (Duncombe, 2019; Gissi & Hornidge, 2018).

While an in-depth study of female ocean scientists and experienced discrimination does not exist, a ‘2014 PLoS ONE survey of over 600 scientists from fieldwork-intensive disciplines found that nearly two thirds of the survey respondents had personally experienced sexual harassment and close to a quarter had experienced sexual assault while conducting fieldwork’ (Kamm et al, 2020). Similarly, the online community, Women in Ocean Science, found that 78% of correspondents had experienced harassment at work, with workplaces and field sites the most common environments (2021). In 2015, NOAA updated their policy for harassment and assault on board their vessels, its release corresponding with news of a female oceanographer who ‘published an account in the Washington Post in 2015 describing her experiences facing discrimination, harassment, and assault while working on research ships as crew and as a scientist for her postdoctoral research at Texas A&M’ (Duncombe, 2019).

HERstory of Oceanography: Text

Interesting read:

Burdett, H. L., Kelling, I., & Carrigan, M. (2022). #TimesUp: tackling gender inequities in marine and fisheries science. Journal of Fish Biology, 100( 1), 4– 9.

HERstory of Oceanography: Text
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