DIVERSITY AT AMS: Insights from the AMS Membership Survey

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Authors: Mona Behl, Laura Merner and Rajul Pandya
Date: Sept. 2017
From: Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society(Vol. 98, Issue 9)
Publisher: American Meteorological Society
Document Type: Article
Length: 2,924 words

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The demographics of the United States are changing, but data from the most recent survey of American Meteorological Society (AMS) members suggest that the weather, water, and climate (WWC) professions are not keeping pace. These results--which indicate modest progress in the participation of women and even less growth in the racial and ethnic diversity of our membership--are a call to action for the WWC community. In the words of the AMS Diversity Statement, "The advancement of the AMS mission is dependent on its ability to have a professional membership that is fully representative of societal demographics."

While the Society still has a long way to go toward that aspiration, the data from the recent survey do show some positive trends. Careful analysis of the data, including multivariate regression across groups of questions, provides guidance for strategic action. In fact, the survey analysis is currently being used in the preparation of a roadmap for an Inclusion and Diversity Report led by the AMS Board on Women and Minorities (BWM).


* While the participation of women has doubled since 1999, it still lags behind participation of men as members of the AMS. The survey also shows that the accomplishments of women are undervalued, and women continue to be underrepresented in leadership positions.

* Only 2.1% of AMS members identify as Black or African-American and 3.5% as Hispanic or Latino, and extremely few are American Indians or Alaskan Natives. Disappointingly, these numbers have remained essentially constant between 2005 and 2014.

* While studies in other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields point out negative experiences and outcomes for members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Inter-sex, Queer/Questioning, and Allied (LGBTIQA) community, AMS members do not report feeling unwelcome or unsupported.

* Qualitative data suggest that people with disabilities still experience significant lack of access to both resources and tools of the WWC profession.

ACTIONS. To address the current lack of inclusion and diversity in the WWC profession, the AMS BWM updated a diversity statement that is more active and aspirational (1) to create a more inclusive and diverse environment within the AMS--an environment that represents and welcomes the full fabric of the community. Survey analysis is being used in the preparation of an Inclusion and Diversity Report led by BWM. This report will set goals for AMS membership, develop dashboards to measure progress, and recommend specific actions and programs to comprehensively address inclusion, diversity, and equity in the WWC community. BWM welcomes the talents of anyone who wants to contribute to this report.


In collaboration with American Institute of Physics (AIP), BWM led the development and administration of the AMS membership survey. Similar to previous surveys, the 2014 survey quizzed respondents about their personal demographics and diversity. Also, several questions were designed to determine ways in which AMS services could better accommodate members with disabilities. This paper focuses only on certain aspects of diversity, such as gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and ability. Follow-up articles will discuss additional AMS...

Source Citation

Source Citation
Behl, Mona, et al. "DIVERSITY AT AMS: Insights from the AMS Membership Survey." Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 98, no. 9, Sept. 2017, p. 1980+. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A511672398