Women In Coastal Geoscience and Engineering Membership

‘Who’ are WICGE?

The Women in Coastal Geoscience and Engineering network aims at being an instrumental tool to achieve gender equality in coastal geosciences and engineering. One of the purposes of WICGE is to facilitate links across age groups and career levels, in academia, government and industry. The network was formed in 2016 and includes members all over the world.

But ‘who’ are WICGE and ‘where’ are we?

We have conducted an overview of our own membership to explore the composition of WICGE as a network. Additional to some interesting messages, the analyses can inform us of areas where we can improve our representation.

Hope you enjoy ‘meeting’ WICGE (and watch out for some ‘trivia’ questions!)

A Global Membership

We currently are 434 members distributed among 39 countries (Fig. 1).

Fig 1. WICGE global membership.

We are in all inhabited continents. However, most of us (75% of WICGE’s membership) are currently living in 5 countries, which points to many things we could do to establishing stronger links with our colleagues in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. If you have ideas or would like to help, please let us know!

Q1: Which 5 countries currently make up approx. 75% of WICGE’s membership? (And in which order?)

How do we self-ID and what type of jobs do we have?

Up to 372 of us self-ID as women (86% of the membership), 49 of us self-ID as men (11%) and 13 of us identify with other gender (3%).

Over half of our members work full-time, and just below 10% work part-time. Up to 33% are students and 3% are currently unemployed or volunteers (Fig. 2).

Fig 2. Membership by job status (left) and its world-wide distribution (right)
Q2: Where does WICGE have more men members?

How old are we?

The largest group by age (50% of our members) are people in their 30s [207 members in total]. The smallest groups are people in their 50s (8%) and over 60 years old (2%) [33 and 8 members, respectively]. There is a similar amount of people in their 20s (18%) and in their 40s (21% of the membership) [76 and 87 members, respectively].

Both our youngest and most senior members are in the US, spanning almost 50 years of age! (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3. WICGE demographics by year of birth, with most members being born in the 1980s and 1990s.
Q3: which year saw the largest amount of current WICGE members being born?

Despite similar ‘size’, the composition of the group of people ‘in their 20s’ vs ‘40s’ is different. Only 5% of members aged 20-29 self-ID as ‘male’, in contrast with over 15% of members aged 40-49. The proportion of members who self-ID as ‘male’ within their age group increases with age, with 25% of colleagues aged 60 and over selecting ‘male’ as their gender. The number of members who identify with other genders (or prefer not to disclose their gender) increases in our youngest generations and is highest among people in their 20s and 30s (Fig. 4).

Fig 4. Number of colleagues by self-ID gender and age groups.

Some additional details by continents

There are 26 WICGE members in Asia and close to 130 members in Oceania (concentrated in Australia and New Zealand). Most members work full time or are students, and many are in their 30s and 20s (Fig. 5).

Fig. 5. Distribution of members in Asia and Oceania by job type and age.

A relatively small number of just 13 members currently work in Central and South America, in comparison with up to 140 WICGE members currently in North America. Most members are full-time staff and students, and many are aged 20-39 years old (Fig. 6).

Fig. 6. Distribution of members in the Americas by job type and age.

Africa is the continent with the lowest number of WICGE members (5) while Europe is the 3rd highest (122). The average age of WICGE members in Europe is younger, likely reflecting a relatively higher number of students (Fig. 7).

Fig. 7. Distribution of members in Africa and Europe by job type and age.

A few concluding thoughts

WICGE is a young network, and it has seen an exponential growth since its foundation only 8 years ago. A critical view on our membership indicates that, while we have been consistently growing in some countries, there are still many things we can do to improve the diversity and representativity of our network. Engaging and learning from our colleagues in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America is something we would like to do, as well as exploring links with coastal scientists in the wider Oceania. The inclusion of other genders and incorporation of minority groups will enrich us and help our purpose.

Although we are concentrated in a few places geographically (likely a symptom of many variables that we yet need to explore), we are also fundamentally diverse. There are up to 51 nationalities represented in WICGE (Fig. 8). Many of our countries have 2 or more languages which suggests that amongst us we might speak over 100 languages and in a multitude of accents. If we could all meet in the same room, we could probably share music and cuisine from all over the world. Each one of us brings their unique background to Coastal Geosciences and Engineering.        

Fig. 8. The nationalities of WIGCE members.

Happy International Women’s Day … and ‘nice to meet you WIGCE’!

Responses to ‘quiz’ questions: 1) USA = 125 members; Australia = 115; UK = 38; Spain = 26; The Netherlands = 21 (other countries with > 10 members are New Zealand, Canada, and France); 2) Australia, with almost 40% of self-ID men members; 3) 1989 (with 26 people being born that year).

Blog post by WICGE Committee Member Irene Delgado-Fernandez

Irene is a researcher at the University of Cadiz (Spain), with academic and work experience in the UK (from Lecturer to Full Professor at Edge Hill University), Ireland (NERC Post-Doc), Canada (PhD), Australia (visiting MSc), and Spain (BA, MSc Marine Sciences). She has received multiple awards and scholarships, and acts as a reviewer for a number of international journals and grant agencies such as the Australian Research Council.

Posted on: 08/03/2022, by :