EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Empowering geoscientists to transform workplace climate through behavioral and institutional change, results from a workplace climate survey by the ADVANCEGeo Partnership

Erika Marín-Spiotta1, Emily Diaz Vallejo1, Vicki Magley2, Blair Schneider3, Allison Mattheis4, Rebecca Barnes5, Asmeret Asefaw Berhe6, Meredith Hastings7, Christine Fabian Bell1, Julie Maertens8, and Billy Williams9
Erika Marín-Spiotta et al.
  • 1University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America
  • 2University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, United States of America
  • 3Kansas Geological Survey, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States of America
  • 4California State University, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States of America
  • 5Colorado College, Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States of America
  • 6University of California, Merced, Merced, California, United States of America
  • 7Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States of America
  • 8Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, Colorado, United States of America
  • 9American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, United States of America

The geosciences are one of the least diverse fields in the U.S., despite their societal relevance. Bias, discrimination, harassment and bullying create hostile climates that present serious hurdles to diversifying the field. These behaviors persist due to severe power imbalances, historical structures of exclusion, persistent marginalization of non-majority groups, and inadequate policies against misconduct. Here we discuss findings from a workplace climate survey of the earth and space sciences distributed via five professional associations: American Geophysical Union, Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, Earth Science Women’s Network and the Association for Women Geoscientists. The survey asked about attitudes and experiences of support, inclusion, exclusion, psychological safety, incivility, and sexual harassment, as well as representation in the workplace. Quantitative results are complemented with qualitative data from the survey and focus groups. This is one of the first such community-wide surveys in the U.S. geosciences and is currently being replicated in the ecological sciences. 

We present the findings of the survey in the context of other work done by the ADVANCEGeo Partnership team and provide recommendations for moving forward. Our approach is informed by critical feminist approaches that seek to disrupt unequal power dynamics in strongly hierarchical workplaces. Expanding the focus from a gender equity program emphasis on sexual harassment to hostile climates, and centering how intersectionality shapes the experiences of those disproportionately impacted by exclusionary behaviors is key for addressing persistent demographic trends in the geosciences. A feminist ethics of care approach informs ADVANCEGeo’s main organizational change intervention, which is a community-based model for bystander intervention and workplace climate education that identifies harassment, bullying and discrimination as scientific misconduct and promotes the adoption of ethical codes of conduct.

How to cite: Marín-Spiotta, E., Diaz Vallejo, E., Magley, V., Schneider, B., Mattheis, A., Barnes, R., Berhe, A. A., Hastings, M., Bell, C. F., Maertens, J., and Williams, B.: Empowering geoscientists to transform workplace climate through behavioral and institutional change, results from a workplace climate survey by the ADVANCEGeo Partnership, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-9350,, 2021.

Corresponding presentation materials formerly uploaded have been withdrawn.