How are people from underrepresented groups represented in introductory Earth Science textbooks?

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm Student Union: Ballroom B
Poster Session Part of Wednesday Session


Karen Koy, Missouri Western State University
There is a low level of recruitment and participation of underrepresented groups, including women, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQA people in the Earth Sciences. That underrepresentation becomes more severe with each step up the academic hierarchy. Introductory classes, especially non-major courses, serve as recruiting grounds for Earth Science students. Do introductory Earth Science textbooks show people from underrepresented groups as successful, active scientists or students? Are they represented in accordance with the population at large? Images and figures of people in introductory Geology and Meteorology books were assessed based on ethnicity, gender, whether they were engaged in scientific activity or other active role. Images of active participants in earth sciences are overwhelmingly represented as white. Images of professionals in academia or industry are overwhelmingly male. Victims of disasters, such as earthquakes or floods, are dominantly shown to be people of color, with a mix of genders and ages. Overall, introductory Earth Science textbooks lack proper representation of people of color anywhere within Earth Science education or professions, and a lack of female Earth Science professionals. This may discourage students from underrepresented groups from entering into the Earth Sciences.