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Abstract: Women Geoscientists in Petroleum Industry

Theresa Flynn Schwarzer

Results of recent surveys conducted by the American Geological Institute (AGI) and the Women Geoscientists Committee of the AGI indicate that women geoscientists are underrepresented seriously in the petroleum industry despite the fact that industry is the largest employer of earth scientists. Although the petroleum industry employs about 21,000 male geologists (about 55 Previous HitpercentNext Hit of all geoscientists), they employ only about 120 women which is less than 0.4 Previous HitpercentNext Hit of all geoscientists and only 0.6 Previous HitpercentNext Hit of geoscientists in the petroleum industry. This percentage is considerably below the 4 Previous HitpercentNext Hit representation of women in geoscience overall. In a survey of petroleum companies, seven majors were found to employ about half of all women geoscientists in industry. Women g oscientists are underrepresented particularly in research and development, production, and consulting work, and are virtually absent from management ranks.

The overall median-salary differentials between men and women geoscientists in industry are among the largest of all employer types (including academia and government). In 1970, the median salary of women in industry was $5,500 less than that of men. In 1974, the margin increased to a salary deficit of $7,600. Many factors influence these dollar differentials, not the least of which is the experience factor (the median age of women in industry is 30). However, substantial dollar differences exist between comparable work-experience groups, and the salary deficit actually increases with years of experience.

The number of women entering geosciences is increasing rapidly. In 1973, women received 15 Previous HitpercentNext Hit of the bachelor's degrees, 11 Previous HitpercentNext Hit of the master's degrees, and 4 Previous HitpercentNext Hit of the doctoral degrees. Currently women comprise 18.5 Previous HitpercentNext Hit of geoscience undergraduates, 14 Previous HitpercentNext Hit of master's candidates, and 11 Previous HitpercentTop doctoral candidates. As their numbers are increasing, the status of women in industry is changing. Industrial attitudes toward the hiring and advancement of women are softening, and starting salaries are improving, particularly among the major companies.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90972©1976 AAPG-SEPM Annual Convention and Exhibition, New Orleans, LA