Gender (along with ‘race’ and ethnicity) remains to be an important aspect in our everyday lives as geographers. In Geography, the increasing number of female graduate students is not matched by the number of women entering tenure-track positions, and women remain concentrated in the lower ranks of professorships. Mistakenly, many attribute this situation to a so-called “time-lag.” However, a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that women encounter institutional barriers to tenure, linked with increased marginalization and and isolation as their careers progress. In our discipline, geographers have studied personal narratives regarding departmental interaction, revealing sexism and racism in everyday professional contexts. These academic contexts affect our lives as women geographers in our departments, whether or not academia is our chosen career path.
In response to these realities, several groups have formed across North America to promote the participation of women in Geography. While remaining autonomous organizations, these groups share the moniker Supporting Women in Geography (SWIG). Our group began to meet over seven years ago, and we are an informal community of women consisting of professors, post-docs, and graduate students from SFU and UBC. We meet monthly in order to discuss the gendered aspects of our lives as geographers — in the classroom, in the department, in academia, and in the field. Our meetings provide women geographers with a positive & productive space and a supportive & engaging environment in which we mentor each other, enhance out intellectual climate, and are innovative in our strategies to promote the status of women in Geography.