Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2016


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.


This article was originally published in URISA Journal.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.