Special Issue "Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences"


A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Mary J. Thornbush

Department of Geography, Brock University, 500 Glenridge Avenue, St. Catharines, Ontario L2S 3A1, Canada
Website: https://brocku.ca/social-sciences/departments-and-centres/geography/faculty/mary-thornbush
Interests: physical geography; geomorphology; environment; climate; landscape change; sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue is a tribute to the participation of women in the geosciences, including physical geography, as well as within geology and the Earth sciences. It commemorates the newly formed Commission on Gender and Geoethics (CoGG), as part of the International Association of Geoethics (IAGETH). The guest editor is the representative of the UK national chapter and coordinator of CoGG. The Special Issue presents scenarios where female professionals, such as academics, are considered as part of the geosciences, either as participants or subjects. The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is a suitable outlet for this content because of its international outreach and environmental scope. It is anticipated that the content will have ramifications for current international policy concerning the ethical treatment of women in the geosciences. Contributions approach the role of women in the geosciences from a feminist perspective that is humanistic and inclusive. As part of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals for 2015, the third goal (to ‘promote gender equality and empower women’) is an important one to achieve in the developing, as well as developed world, and this is true for the academic disciplines, particularly those that are traditionally male-dominated, such as the geosciences. Developed countries should set an example for the world of the equal treatment of women, and this includes within the academic sphere.

Dr. Mary J. Thornbush
Guest Editor


Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Published Papers (5 papers)

Download All Papers
Sort by:
Display options:
Select articles Export citation of selected articles as:
Select/unselect all
Displaying article 1-5
n° 398
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 398; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040398
Received: 30 March 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
Show/Hide Abstract | PDF Full-text (267 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences)
p. 12518-12529
by ,  and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(10), 12518-12529; doi:10.3390/ijerph121012518
Received: 16 June 2015 / Revised: 21 September 2015 / Accepted: 29 September 2015 / Published: 8 October 2015
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (716 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences)
p. 5758-5774
by , , , ,  and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(6), 5758-5774; doi:10.3390/ijerph120605758
Received: 18 August 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2015 / Published: 26 May 2015
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (8083 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences)
p. 9429-9445
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9429-9445; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909429
Received: 15 May 2014 / Revised: 29 August 2014 / Accepted: 29 August 2014 / Published: 11 September 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (550 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences)
abstract graphic
p. 8632-8644
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8632-8644; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908632
Received: 5 May 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 August 2014 / Published: 25 August 2014
Show/Hide Abstract | Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (250 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences)
Select/unselect all
Displaying article 1-5
Select articles Export citation of selected articles as:

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Hiring Practices in the Sciences (Physical Geography) are Leaving Women out of the Academia
Mary J. Thornbush
Affiliation: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK; E-Mail: m.thornbush@bham.ac.uk
Abstract: With the recent founding of a Commission on Gender & Geoethics as part of the International Association for Geoethics (IAGETH), attention has been drawn to the role of women in the geosciences. The aim of this group is for the inclusive consideration of women in professional roles as researchers and academics. The author, who is Chair of the Commission on Gender & Geoethics, examines the Canadian reality of women academics in traditionally male-dominanted disciplines in the geosciences. Physical geography is targeted for detailed consideration and case study support. Specifically, a web-based search of Canadian universities performed relatively recently conveyed the fewer amounts of women in physical geography compared with human geography. Their representation is particularly scanty at higher levels, especially as full professors. These results are discussed within the context of demographics for Canadian women in the sciences. Policy needs to be affected by these findings so that academia may indeed become more representative of women. This paper calls for men and women to support an equal representative law in university geoscience departments in Canada and globally. Full equity means not only equal representation, but also equal pay.
Feminist geography; physical geography; geosciences; women; Canada

Type of Paper: Article
Title: The View of Women Pre-1900s in Scotland and England Based on Headstone Inscriptions and Motifs Found in Urban Churchyards
Authors: S. E. Thornbush 1,* and Mary J. Thornbush 2
Affiliations: 1 School of History, Classics and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh, UK; E-Mail: s.e.thornbush@sms.ed.ac.uk
2 School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK; E-Mail: m.thornbush@bham.ac.uk
Abstract: Headstones have been used as a means of interpreting social norms and behaviours in past societies.  The use of inscriptions and motifs in this study are the gateway to understanding the rudimentary views of women in society in the pre-1900s in Scotland and England.  This study derives details from headstones in urban churchyards within several different cities in the UK.  It is based on over 300 standing headstones in specific churchyards in Scotland and nearly 300 in those in England.  Fieldwork was executed between 2007 and 2010 at various churchyards in Oxford, York, Scarborough, Dunbar, Edinburgh and Inverness.  Inscriptions and motifs were noted for both women and men and types were allocated to each.  The means of introducing the dead, whether for a woman or man, and the use of elemental motifs for these were all noted and classified.  Women were introduced as 'wife of' while men were rarely introduced as 'husband of' and in many cases men were commemorated on a given headstone.  As for motifs, there were definite male-specific motifs associated with their profession (tools), while for women this categorisation was not as distinct.  Keywords: headstones; symbols; male-specific motifs; motifs; inscriptions; status of women; history; parishe

Type of Paper: Article
Title: No Cursing, No Crying, No Cookies: Women in Geomorphology since World War II
Author: Dorothy Sack
Affiliation: Department of Geography, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701, USA; E-Mail: sack@ohio.edu
Abstract: As in other traditionally male-dominated fields in England, Canada, and the United States, the number and percentage of geomorphologists who are women has increased since World War II.  That increase in women geomorphologists, however, has not been particularly rapid or large, and it lags behind similar statistics for at least one of geomorphology’s two major home disciplines, which are geography and geology.  Nevertheless, social change over the past seven decades has made it easier than it once was for women in these countries to study and work in geomorphology, or in any geographical or geological subfield that interests them.  This paper uses information obtained from personal histories of six women geomorphologists to depict the nature of some of the challenges that women pursuing this geoscience faced in these countries during the twentieth century.  Goals of this historical account include promoting a better understanding of the means by which a pioneering and the subsequent generation of women coped with the culture of a male-dominated geoscience, and substantive changes to that cultural environment that were eventually attained.  Other underrepresented groups in the geosciences may be able to find some useful commonalities between their experiences and those of these women geomorphologists.  Because much of what a discipline is today derives from its history, this account may also help geomorphologists put the present nature of their field into fuller perspective. As late as 1988, no cursing, no crying, no cookies was the gist of advice passed down from one American academic woman to the next, as the latter was preparing to start her first post-Ph.D. professional position in geomorphology.  This advice was likely passed along from more senior to more junior women in other male-dominated fields as well.  This paper uses these twentieth century directives for how a woman should (not) behave in the professional setting as a framework for recounting some of the restrictions and challenges encountered by women geomorphologists of the time, and how they coped with those issues as they tried to do the work that they loved.
Keywords: history of geomorphology; women in geomorphology; disciplinary culture; C.A.M. King; M. Morisawa

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Improving Female Participation in Professional Engineering Geology to Bring New Perspectives on Ethics
Author: Dolores Pereira
Affiliation: Department of Geology, University of Salamanca. Salamanca 37008, Spain; E-Mail: mdp@usal.es
Abstract: Engineering geology is one of the professional areas where women have not yet broken the gender barrier. It is not that they do not study this subject. Rather, after completing their studies, they rarely enter the profession. This circumstance has also been observed for other technical topics such as physical sciences, computer science and mathematics. This has led mainstream scientists to rethink the way sciences are taught to attract more students in general and more female students in particular. During several years of teaching engineering geology at the University of Salamanca (Spain), it has been found that, at the end of five years training, many women students were not satisfied with the content of their courses and felt that these had not met their expectations. They often had preferences for traditional geology rather than applied branches of the subject. Also, they did not feel comfortable with future prospects to work in the profession. In the Spanish universities, and before the Bologna adaptation of studies, only architecture and engineering students had to end their studies by presenting a final project. During this final stage, most of these women students select a more theoretical final project instead of a practical project relevant to professional employment. The latter would be more understandable for a degree course that should be of practical nature. To address this problem, tutors should, at the beginning of studies, make all the students aware of the content and the potential outcomes of the engineering geological studies. This would make clear what is expected from them during their University years and what they could achieve after graduation. For women students, it is particularly important to let them know from the beginning that they are about to join what is still a man´s world but that they are capable of achieving as much as men can in the profession. The number of female teaching staff in this area is currently less than 35% of women and this could influence the impression that female students have about engineering geology as a profession. Action is needed to increase female participation in this, at present, very male-dominated field and bring their ethical perspectives to professional engineering geology.
Keywords: Engineering Geology; female students; ethics in Geosciences; final project

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Gender Discrimination and Italian Geoscientists: Real Perception Beyond Numbers
Authors: Rossato Sandro 1,* and Quadri Maria Luisa 2
Affiliations: 1 University of Padua – Department of Geosciences – Padua, Italy; E-Mail: sandro.rossato@unipd.it
2 Psicologist and psychotherapist freelance – Vicenza, Italy
Abstract: In Italy, as in almost all European countries, women approaching Geology and Earth Sciences have been strongly discriminated. Nowadays, thanks to a grown awareness of their own capability, along with an equal opportunity policy, they have become an important presence in the Italian Universities. In particular, at the University of Padua, one of the major and oldest University in Italy, located in a wealthy region, female students are about half of the Geoscience students, since the last decade. Previous researches pointed out that Italian women start to join Earth Sciences’ academic courses in the 70’s, enhancing their number up to the beginning of 2000’s, when a lasting stasis took place. Despite of this trend, women are still underrepresented in the world of work and, to a smaller extent, in the research institutes and universities, meaning that gender discriminations is still present. This work focuses on the perception of gender discrimination by students and workers in the Geosciences, rather than the real effects of sexism, which have been, and still are, the object of various and extensive studies. Indeed, personal perception, even more than real discrimination, give the measure of how embedded is sexism in the society, and in this field in particular. The entirety of the students who started the “Geological Sciences” course in September 2003 at the University of Padua has been considered (35 people started and about 20 reached at least the bachelor). We choose 2003 year because genders were almost equally represented. Furthermore, students starting in 2004 have got enough time to conclude their academic formation and start their working career, perceiving gender discrimination in both cases. The survey participants filled out a questionnaire specifically developed for this research, which consists of both open and closed questions. Since it was too small a group to be analysed quantitatively we developed a questionnaire for a qualitative research, which will constitute the basis for a following more complex and quantitative analysis. The research is focused, among the others subjects, on: motivation in the degree course choice, students’ perception of the teachers-behaviour changes according to their gender, relationships with classmates, course opportunities offered/denied, obstacles met, tasks offered, career chances and work environment conditions. Data processing is still in progress, but even since the beginning a fundamental difference in the gender discrimination perception between men and women arose.
university students; personal perception; academic hurdles; career opportunities; work environment

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Women in Geoscience: The Role of the Yes Network
Authors: Amel Barich *, Tanvi Arora, Cecilia N. Mukosi
Young Eath-Scientists (YES) Network; E-Mail: amel.barich@gmail.com
Abstract: The field of Geoscience is chosen by Women because of very special elements of this discipline, but sometimes it fails to specify the attention which they deserve in this field. Participation at all levels in scientific quests leads to their involvement in the root levels of national planning requirements and to feel more responsible towards them. In order to attain the corporal gain in the society, it is utmost important to tap this huge potential and promote them. The Young Earth Scientist [YES] Network is an international association of early career geoscientists from universities, geosciences organizations and industries around the world, with over 3000 members located in 124 countries. The YES Network aims to link early-career geoscientists through scientific research and interdisciplinary networking. It aims to provide professional development resources to prepare early-career geoscientists for integration into the workforce and to help prepare them to serve as key leaders and advisors on the intersections between environmental sustainability, geo-resource exploration, and quality of human life issues. The large cohort of international members provides the YES Network with a unique opportunity to monitor career pathways and key decision points in geoscience careers. To this end the YES Network is currently hosting an international survey aimed at monitoring such decision points. This survey has enabled us to identify factors that influence women geoscientists’ choices and decisions during their careers, and offers an opportunity for survey participants to provide feedback and suggestions around such topics as returning to work after career breaks. Key findings pertaining to women in geosciences sourced from the first 18 months of the Decision Point Survey will be presented along with conclusions from a series of YES Network 'Women in Geoscience' roundtables in partnership with the African Association of Women in Geosciences (AAWG). This study also includes an analysis emphasising on the situation of young female geoscientists in Africa and perspectives of the YES Network concerning the strenghtening the presence of young female geoscientists in this discipline and forming future leaders. By creating such survey, we as YES Network are trying to figure out the practicalities of the status of women geoscientists. Also one of the aim should be to create an awareness towards the gender-neutral work environment in some parts of the globe.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: The Mineral Resource Dilemma and Balancing the Interests of Government, Local Communities and Abiotic Nature
Author: Nataliya Nikitina
Affiliation: LLC Intergeo Managing Company, 22 Tverskaya St., 125009, Moscow, Russia; E-Mail: NikitinaNK@mmcintergeo.ru or Nikitina-NK@yandex.ru
Abstract: Over the past quinquennial, strong local opposition has delayed or stopped exploration and mining projects on several continents. Perceived and actual environmental impacts created by mining operation, unfair distribution of benefits from mining, the silence on final beneficiaries are the most frequent causes for the local population to oppose mining projects. Such kind of social conflicts have been scrutinized closely. Necessary arrangements to prevent escalation have been suggested. Arrangements should be made before licensing.
Keywords: mineral resource dilemma; governments; subsoil users; local communities; abiotic nature; environment; social conflicts

Last update: 31 January 2014

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert