Women in Meteorology

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  • 1 National Center for Atmospheric Research , Boulder, Colo. 80307
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The names of 927 women who are or have been active in meteorology or closely related fields have been obtained from various sources. Of these women, at least 500 are presently active. An estimated 4–5% of the total number of Ph.D.s in meteorology are awarded to women. About 10% of those receiving B.S. and M.S. degrees are women.

The work patterns, accomplishments, and salaries of employed women meteorologists have been summarized from 330 responses to questionnaires, as functions of age, family status, part- or full-time working status, and employing institutions. It was found that women meteorologists holding Ph.D.s are more likely than their male counterparts to be employed by universities. As increasing number of women were employed in operational meteorology, although few of them were married and fewer still responsible for children. Several women were employed by private industry and some had advanced into managerial positions, although at the present time, such positions remain out of the reach of most women.

The subjective and objective effects of several gender-related factors have been summarized from the comments and responses to the questionnaires. The primary obstacles to advancement were found to be part-time work and the responsibility for children. Part-time work was found to have a clearly negative effect on salary increase as a function of age. Prejudiced discrimination and rules negatively affecting women remain important, especially to the older women, and affirmative action programs are generally seen as beneficial.

Surprisingly, in contrast to the experience of women in other fields of science, women Ph.D.s in meteorology earn salaries comparable to those of their male counterparts. It is suggested that this is a result of their employment in government or large corporations and universities where there are strong affirmative action programs and above-average salaries. Based on the responses to the questionnaire, the small size of the meteorological community is also a factor, enabling women to become recognized quickly as individuals. It also may be partially attributed to the relative youth of the women involved. They are too young to have encountered the severe discrimination others experienced in the past, and too young to have reached the barriers that have traditionally prevented women from advancing to higher positions. No figures are available that would allow comparison between salaries of male and female holders of bachelor's and master's degrees.

1 The National Center for Atmospheric Research in sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

The names of 927 women who are or have been active in meteorology or closely related fields have been obtained from various sources. Of these women, at least 500 are presently active. An estimated 4–5% of the total number of Ph.D.s in meteorology are awarded to women. About 10% of those receiving B.S. and M.S. degrees are women.

The work patterns, accomplishments, and salaries of employed women meteorologists have been summarized from 330 responses to questionnaires, as functions of age, family status, part- or full-time working status, and employing institutions. It was found that women meteorologists holding Ph.D.s are more likely than their male counterparts to be employed by universities. As increasing number of women were employed in operational meteorology, although few of them were married and fewer still responsible for children. Several women were employed by private industry and some had advanced into managerial positions, although at the present time, such positions remain out of the reach of most women.

The subjective and objective effects of several gender-related factors have been summarized from the comments and responses to the questionnaires. The primary obstacles to advancement were found to be part-time work and the responsibility for children. Part-time work was found to have a clearly negative effect on salary increase as a function of age. Prejudiced discrimination and rules negatively affecting women remain important, especially to the older women, and affirmative action programs are generally seen as beneficial.

Surprisingly, in contrast to the experience of women in other fields of science, women Ph.D.s in meteorology earn salaries comparable to those of their male counterparts. It is suggested that this is a result of their employment in government or large corporations and universities where there are strong affirmative action programs and above-average salaries. Based on the responses to the questionnaire, the small size of the meteorological community is also a factor, enabling women to become recognized quickly as individuals. It also may be partially attributed to the relative youth of the women involved. They are too young to have encountered the severe discrimination others experienced in the past, and too young to have reached the barriers that have traditionally prevented women from advancing to higher positions. No figures are available that would allow comparison between salaries of male and female holders of bachelor's and master's degrees.

1 The National Center for Atmospheric Research in sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

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