EGU23-5172, updated on 09 Jan 2024
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

GeoLatinas: bringing down the language barrier to increase Latin American representation and democratize science communication in Earth and Planetary Sciences

Sofía Barragán-Montilla1,2, Daniela Navarro-Perez1,3,4, Adriana Guatame-Garcia1,5, Dariana Isamel Avila-Velasquez1,6, Grisel Jimenez Soto1,7, and Rocio Paola Caballero-Gill1,8
Sofía Barragán-Montilla et al.
  • 1GeoLatinas – Latinas in Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • 2MARUM –Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 3School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK
  • 4Chemical Engineering Department, Universidad de Magallanes, Chile
  • 5Department of Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada
  • 6IIAMA - Institute of Water and Environmental Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain
  • 7Centre for Subsurface Imaging, Institute of Hydrocarbon Recovery, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Malaysia
  • 8Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, George Mason University, VA, USA

GeoLatinas is a member-driven organization that inspires, embraces and empowers Latinas to thrive in Earth and Planetary Sciences (E&PS) by creating initiatives to address and overcome career progression barriers for the representation of the Latin American community. The GeoLatinas’ Voice your needs survey, conducted in English and Spanish, showed in 2020 that many respondents in our community (42%) found language barrier as one of the most pressing issues.

Perceiving English as the main communication language in the science community creates a barrier for non-native English speakers, hindering their inclusion and representation. Bilingual education in Latin American schools is uncommon. The high cost of learning and obtaining proof of English proficiency, results in limited access to higher education. The English barrier is also a challenge when publishing in indexed journals or presenting research at international events. Consequently, education and employment opportunities for aspiring scientists and professionals decrease. 

GeoLatinas transforms the language barrier into an opportunity by communicating in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, thus contributing to a diverse E&PS community. Specifically, we continuously develop strategies to overcome language-related issues like: (1) English as a requirement for inclusion and recognition in the science community; (2) lack of access to opportunities for Non-English speaking experts and non-experts; and (3) limited recognition of Latin American scientists’ work.

Initiatives addressing the first issue include Conversando con GeoLatinas (Chatting with GeoLatinas), a space to improve English and Spanish conversational skills; Dry Runs & Peer Review, a comprehensive database of native English, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking reviewers, allowing members to receive feedback on written and oral pieces; and GeoSeminars, where leaders of GeoLatinas por Mexico host presentations in Spanish and English, with diverse experts sharing their knowledge with a broader community online. Lastly, collaborations with Nature Reviews Earth and Environment help our members publish short scientific articles in English, and Spanish or Portuguese.

Regarding the second issue, the GeoLatinas Blog gives members and invited experts a platform to share their research and thoughts on diverse topics in blogs available in our three languages. In addition, GeoLatinas has fostered partnerships for specific translations to Spanish, such as short science articles (with science communication production entity Planeteando); and also to English, like the booklet GEAS: Women who study the Earth (with the ENGIE project).

Confronting the third issue, the GeoLatinas’ social-media based initiative Friday Feature in Geo has broadcasted over 160 profiles highlighting the work and contributions of Latinas in E&PS across all career stages. Together with the GeoLatinas around the world podcast in Spanish and Portuguese, we inspire and inform new generations, sharing funding opportunities and experiences from latinx scholars.

As a multicultural organization, we see strength in our differences and leverage them diversifying the E&PS. Together, we nurture our multilingual communication skills and use them as high-value traits for the scientific community. By embracing our heritage and communicating science in our native languages, GeoLatinas brings down the language barrier, democratizes science communication and increases Latin American representation in science.

How to cite: Barragán-Montilla, S., Navarro-Perez, D., Guatame-Garcia, A., Avila-Velasquez, D. I., Jimenez Soto, G., and Caballero-Gill, R. P.: GeoLatinas: bringing down the language barrier to increase Latin American representation and democratize science communication in Earth and Planetary Sciences, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-5172,, 2023.