Women Storm CalGIS

I learned from a tweet from @URISA last week (April 16) that all three keynotes at CalGIS, last week’s URISA California GIS Conference, were by women. 


Women in #GIS rule at the #CalGIS Conference... three keynotes, three amazing women GIS professionals.

They included:

  • Opening Keynote Address - Estella “Este” M. Geraghty, MD, MS, MPH, FACP, GISP, Assistant Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine, University of California Davis
  • Awards Breakfast & Keynote Address - Maggi Glasscoe, Geophysicist in the Solid Earth Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • Closing Plenary Address- Gretchen Peterson, GISP, Principal Consultant, PetersonGIS, Fort Collins, CO

I understand there was a Women in GIS meetup, April 17:


Join us for the Women in GIS meet up in the lobby of the Westin at noon today! #CalGIS

I responded to the first tweet asking:


Planned? Did folks notice? MT @URISA Women in #GIS rule at #CalGIS... three keynotes, three amazing women GIS professionals.

The responses were interesting:


@adenas @URISA This makes me so proud of all the GIS women and the community as a whole! Thanks for sharing smile



@adenas @URISA Not the plan, but a good result.



@adenas @geotc that is the plan for GISPro! c: @HilaryPerkins @kbrennangisp

This situation got me thinking, mostly prompting questions :

  • What is the impact of a woman (or more than one) giving a keynote at a GIS Conference? How would we measure it?
  • Should GIS conferences actively seek out women as keynoters and/or speakers?
  • Should conferences promote the participation of women (or other groups for that matter) in the program?
  • If a goal of the "women in GIS" people is recruiting more women into GIS or further developing the ones already in the industry, what other things might we try?

I wanted to raise these questions as URISA prepares for its GIS Pro event this fall. There is discussion about a Women in GIS session.

Published Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Written by Adena Schutzberg

Published in


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