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Title: Hostile climates are barriers to diversifying the geosciences
The geosciences are one of the least diverse disciplines in the United States, despite the field's relevance to livelihoods and local and global economies. Bias, discrimination, and harassment present serious hurdles to diversifying the field. These behaviors persist due to historical structures of exclusion, severe power imbalances, unique challenges associated with geoscientist stereotypes, and a culture of impunity that tolerates exclusionary behaviors and marginalization of scholars from underserved groups. We summarize recent research on exclusionary behaviors that create hostile climates and contribute to persistent low retention of diverse groups in the geosciences and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. We then discuss recent initiatives in the US by geoscience professional societies and organizations, including the National Science Foundation-supported ADVANCEGeo Partnership, to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion by improving workplace climate. Social networks and professional organizations can transform scientific culture through providing opportunities for mentorship and community building and counteracting professional isolation that can result from experiencing hostile behaviors, codifying ethical practice, and advocating for policy change. We conclude with a call for a reexamination of current institutional structures, processes, and practices for a transformational and equitable scientific enterprise. To be truly successful, cultural and behavioral changes need to more » be accompanied by reeducation about the historical political structures of academic institutions to start conversations about the real change that has to happen for a transformational and equitable scientific enterprise. « less
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Advances in geosciences
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National Science Foundation
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