For those of you who are members of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), election time is here. AGU members elect a national president, as well as presidents and secretaries for each discipline (including Planetary Sciences). In the Dec. 22 issue of Eos, the current elected officials and all the candidates are listed, along with position statements by the candidates standing for election.
Of the current presidents, only 3 of 13 are women. As always, we have to ask whether this is because of a) lack of qualified women in the field (increasingly unlikely), b) qualified women aren’t being nominated (or more proactively, stepping forward for nomination), or c) qualified women aren’t winning elections. But turning the pages of Eos, we have a fantastic experiment before us.
For *nearly every* race, there is a male candidate and a female candidate. A few races have both candidates female, and some are both male. Overall, 29 candidates are female and 47 are male – so that eliminates a. I seriously doubt that any candidate could get there without sterling credentials, so I’d eliminate b as well. In particular, Planetary Sciences has a set of outstanding candidates, both male and female. BIG kudos to the AGU nominating committees for assembling a pool of candidates that more closely mirrors their membership.
I’ll be interested to see the outcome of these elections, and am hoping to not see choice c. Let’s hope the AGU leadership more closely mirrors its membership in 2010, and if you’re an AGU member, don’t forget to vote!