• More recently, McPhee and Canetto (yet to be published) examined faculty and graduate student demographics of 35 graduate programs carefully chosen to represent the full range of graduate programs in climate science. Of the 834 faculty surveyed, four were females from a historically under-represented group and 16 were Asian females. Of the graduate students, only 2.8 percent were females from an underrepresented group.
Challenges or barriers to success that confront women of color in AMS
Like many scientific societies, the culture of AMS reflects the culture of its members. While the society has become more diverse, especially in its early-career members, the membership is still dominated by majority ethnicities and males. It is hard to quantify the impact of the double-bind, i.e. being simultaneously part of two under-represented groups. One AMS member talked about having to “unzip herself” before coming to work. She described the effort it takes to suppress her social and cultural practices and instead adopt the communication styles and norms that are common in majority cultures. The very small numbers of women of color is itself a barrier. In describing a series of in depth interviews with female graduate students in atmospheric sciences, Canetto wrote “we have not analyzed the data on women of color separately because given the small sample, to report on them separately would jeopardize the respondents' anonymity and/or confidentiality --even simply the privacy of their decision to participate in the study.” There have been several other barriers proposed, based on either personal experience or generalization from barriers that may be shared by many women or ethnic minorities. These include:
• Lack of role models, as suggested by the small number of women of color in faculty positions.
• Lack of support networks or community, a probable impact of the relatively few women of color in the field overall.
• Challenges of balancing family and career, which seems to disproportionately affect women (in the 2005 survey, female members were less likely to be married then male members, see Murillo et al. 2008).
• Many minorities and particularly women are drawn into more educational, outreach or service-related activities, which tend to provide less reward and advancement than traditional academic research.
• While everyone is affected in tight budget environments, declining grant opportunities and career openings constrict the career pathways and options available to women of color.
Policies and/or programs implemented by AMS to enhance the participation of women of color and to advance their academic careers
AMS practices and policies reflect a commitment to inclusivity and have benefited women of color, though none specifically and uniquely address women of color. A list of relevant policies and programs follows.
• AMS statements affirm an organizational commitment to diversity and inclusivity. The diversity statement, one of the few AMS statements without an expiration date, is the most obvious example, and a newer statement requiring respectful and appropriate behavior at AMS meetings is in development.
• The AMS Board of Women and Minorities, founded in 1975 in recognition of the fact that AMS demographics didn’t reflect the diversity of the US, is charged with examining