The Earth Science Women's Network (ESWN): Community-Driven Mentoring for Women in the Atmospheric Sciences

Adams, Amanda S. ; Steiner, Allison L. ; Wiedinmyer, Christine

Année de publication
Women are a growing percentage of undergraduate and graduate students in the atmospheric sciences, yet they remain a minority in senior positions. One approach for the retention of women is increased mentoring, which is linked to successful promotions, higher incomes, and greater career satisfaction. Informal peer networking is a form of mentoring that may be effective for underrepresented groups. The Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN) was established in 2002 with the mission to promote career development, build community, provide informal mentoring and support, and facilitate professional collaborations for early career women in the Earth sciences. Over time, ESWN has developed a mentoring philosophy that has reduced some barriers and challenges that women face in traditional mentoring relationships. The five main principles of the ESWN’s mentoring philosophy have evolved to include community-driven mentoring, diverse mentoring approaches for diverse individuals, mentoring across career phases, combined personal and professional mentoring, and effective mentoring in a safe space. Surveys of ESWN members report gains in areas that are often considered barriers to career advancement, including recognition that they are not alone, new understanding of obstacles faced by women in science, and access to professional resources. These gains have been accomplished through online and in-person ESWN activities guided by the ESWN’s mentoring philosophy. Understanding the success of the ESWN, as well as its limitations, has the potential to inform the larger atmospheric science community of additional strategies to improve mentoring and retention of women in the atmospheric sciences.

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