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Women in glaciology, a historical perspective

  • Christina L. Hulbe (a1), Weili Wang (a2) and Simon Ommanney (a3)


Women’s history in glaciology extends as far back in time as the discipline itself, although their contributions to the scientific discourse have for all of that history been constrained by the sociopolitical contexts of the times. The first Journal of Glaciology paper authored by a woman appeared in 1948, within a year of the founding of the Journal, but it was not until the 1980s that women produced more than a few percent of Journal and Annals of Glaciology papers. Here international perspectives on women’s participation in the sciences are presented in order to establish an economic and sociopolitical context for stories of women ‘pioneers’ in glaciology and a frame in which to discuss women’s persistent under-representation relative to men. We find that the experiences of individual glaciologists mirror women’s experiences in higher education and the sciences as a whole. The existence of both positive and negative trends in women’s participation in the sciences suggests caution in the interpretation of recent positive trends for women’s participation in glaciology.

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