Women in geology

Etheldred Benett (1776–1845)

Her speciality was in the Middle Cretaceous Upper Greensand in the Vale of Wardour and was well known for her collection of Tisbury Coral. She wrote and privately published a monograph, A Catalogue of the Organic Remains of the County of Wiltshire.

Mary Fairfax Somerville (1780–1872)

Mary Fairfax Somerville (1780–1872)

She was one the most important scientists of the nineteenth century. She was important less for her contribution to the advancement of the boundaries of knowledge, than to the advancement of the distribution of knowledge.

Charlotte Murchison (1788–1869)

Charlotte Murchison (1788–1869)

Fluent in French, fossil hunter, landscape and geological structure sketcher. © Geological Society, London

Mary Buckland (1797–1857)

An accomplished fossil geologist, she was an expert at mending and building up fossils from a collection of fragments.

Mary Anning (1799–1847)

Mary Anning (1799–1847)

Found and prepared the first fossilised plesiosaur and the first Ichthyosaurus (but not the first ichthyosaur). She found many other important fossils, including Pterodactylus (a flying reptile), sharks (and other fish), etc.

Barbara, Marchioness of Hastings (1810–1858)

Barbara, Marchioness of Hastings (1810–1858)

Fossil collector and "lady-geologist"

Elizabeth Carne (1817–1873)

Geologist and author

1830

Lyells principles of Geology published

Lyells principles of Geology published

1835

Geological Ordnance Survey founded, based at Craigs Court, Whitehall

1839

Survey was given responsibility for a new Mining Record Office

1841

'Museum of Economic Geology' opened at Craig's Court

1845

Became Geological Survey of Great Britain and Ireland

1851

'Museum of Practical Geology' opened in Jermyn Street

'Museum of Practical Geology' opened in Jermyn Street. Survey HQ transferred

1859

Charles Darwin — Origin of Species

Charles Darwin — Origin of Species

1896

Ethel Woods & Margaret Crosfield publish first joint paper on geology of Carmarthen

1901–1918

Gertrude Elles & Ethel Wood publish Monograph of British Graptolites.

1903–1918

Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes publishes the majority of her palaeobotanical papers

1906–1907

Ida Slater & Helen Drew were the recipients of the Daniel Pidgeon Fund, and decided to undertake a piece of field-work among the Palæozoic rocks of Wales.

1906

Became: Geological Survey of Ireland and Geological Survey of Great Britain

1920s

Survey archives suggest no women recruited until 1920s when an advert for geologists included the statement that women candidates 'must be unmarried or widows and will be required to resign their appointments on marriage'

1922

Geological Survey of Ireland (Eire)

1928

EM Hendriks — first woman to attempt to become a Survey geologist — unsuccessful

1935

Geological Museum, South Kensington

Moved to Geological Museum, South Kensington

1939–1945

Waterbabies during WWII. Taking an inventory of the many supply boreholes and wells (mainly by bicycle).

1940s–50s

A new league of waterbabies in 1940s and 50s — for women graduates in geology, the water cart was their only opportunity to conduct fieldwork.

1943

E Guppy

E Guppy promoted to assistant geologist, becoming first woman geologist in the Survey. Demoted in 1946 due to either having fulfilled wartime role or due to DSIR conditions of service.

1950s

Geological Museum

From the 1950s onwards more women were employed in the Geological Museum in South Kensington.

1957

Diane Knill

Diane Knill — obtained PhD and employed as a geologist

1965

Became Institute of Geological Sciences

1966

Survey merged with overseas Geological Survey

1967

Susan Arnold — first woman to conduct research at sea.

1960s–70s

Equal pay and sex discrimination legislation. Survey still male dominated — hard to breach organisation.

1976

Move to Keyworth started

1978

Miss Edna Waine appointed first female head of unit (Analytical & ceramics unit)

1980–2000

Beris Cox

Beris Cox authors and coauthors over 230 reports and papers on Mesozoic biostratigraphy

1984

British Geological Survey logo

Became British Geological Survey

1985

Official opening of BGS Keyworth Library.

BGS Library opens

1989

Introduction of Digital Map Production System in BGS

1991

Dr Jane Plant

Dr Jane Plant appointed Survey's first female Assistant Director

2003

3-D Visualisation Suite opens

3-D Visualisation Suite opens

2010

There are currently about an even divide of female and male geologists working for the British Geological Survey.

There are currently about an even divide of female and male geologists working for the British Geological Survey.