In many technical professions, women are underrepresented. While a gender imbalance also has been assumed to exist in the realm of professional GIS, no data existed to corroborate it. The original survey presented here was developed by the authors to add both quantitative and qualitative research about the numbers and current experience of women in GIS to address this knowledge gap. A total of 484 women responded to the survey, providing a healthy sample size and a reliable and informative data set.
A key finding is that some 42 percent of women are, overall, not grossly underrepresented in the GIS workforce. This does not mean, however, that underrepresentation in more specific areas or that other gender equality issues are not present. The survey results suggest that women in GIS might be more underrepresented in certain sectors and in certain types of positions, and use a higher proportion of “soft” versus technical skills in their current positions. Based on the research findings, GIS seems like a good field for female participation, with its good work-life balance, strong sense of community, opportunities for networking and mentoring, and importance placed on continuing development.