Multisite Investigation of Sexist Experiences Encountered by Undergraduate Female Geology Students

Julie Sexton, Harmony Newman, Cassendra Bergstrom, Kevin Pugh, Eric Riggs

Abstract


We examined the presence of sexist experiences encountered by female undergraduate students across six geology departments. Two departments graduated a high percentage of female students compared to the national average (high sites), two departments had a moderate percentage (medium sites), and two had a low percentage (low sites). Over 50% of all participants reported encountering sexism. Hostile sexism was the most frequently reported type of sexism, subtle stereotype sexism the second most frequently reported, and subtle benevolent sexism the least frequently reported. Low and medium sites had a higher percentage of participants reporting sexism than at high sites. Additionally, most of the hostile experiences were reported at low and medium sites, and nearly 50% of participants at those site types reported sexist experiences, suggesting that there is a more pervasive hostile social climate in low and medium sites. These findings suggest that sexism may be common within the six geology departments and particularly at low and medium sites. We speculate that hostile sexism may serve as a barrier for recruitment and retention of women in low and medium sites.

Keywords


gender; sexism; recruitment and retention; undergraduate students; department culture; geoscience

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