The Earth Science Women's Network, a networking organization for women geoscientists, will be presented with a Special Award at this year's annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society.
The award will recognize the organization for its "inspirational commitment to broadening the participation of women in the Earth sciences, providing a supportive environment for peer mentoring and professional development."
The Earth Science Women's Network (ESWN) was co-founded by Institute fellow Meredith Hastings and a number of other female colleagues in the winter of 2002. What began as a small, informal gathering of women scientists in the geosciences grew dramatically over the years before officially becoming a nonprofit in 2014.
Hastings, who currently serves as the ESWN's Vice President, explains that the majority of the group's 3000 members identify as early career scientists—primarily graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty.
The organization now engages year-round in workshops, forums, and outreach, as well as maintenance of a thriving web presence and community listserv. Its primary goal is to act as a resource and support system in order to expand women scientists' reach in the Earth sciences.
“Getting more women into the sciences—and into the Earth sciences especially—benefits everybody. It benefits society and it benefits the world," says Hastings. "These are important areas of research for our society. And the more diversified our workforce is, the more empowered our workforce is and the better our ideas are.”
Three members of the ESWN Leadership Board will attend the AMS meeting and will accept the award on behalf of the organization.
The American Meteorological Society represents a particularly sizable hub of ESWN's membership; in fact, atmospheric scientists make up the largest proportion of ESWN members, amounting to approximately one-third of the organization's roster.
"I think it's really exciting to get the recognition of an important disciplinary society who understands the importance of the work that we're doing, and that it's making a difference in the career success of early career women," says Hastings.
"It publicly highlights the work that we're doing and makes it more visible to a broader reach of the community. It would be great if that encourages more women to become members and they find greater community and greater support for their career advancement through our organization," she adds.
"At the same time, we are a non-profit and we're trying to raise money for an endowment, so also visibly highlighting the work that our organization is doing in a way that attracts more people to support our mission would be really exciting."