Hi @egardner and others!
Great forum and great first post! I think many of the barriers were mentioned in that article/flow chart. But I think one of the largest issues I faced was that I lacked confidence in my own abilities. I ended up with a fantastic undergraduate mentor (male) who threw complex problems at me and expected me to take my own path to a solution. When I messed up or accidentally burned a hole in the table with my soldering gun, he wasn’t upset but glad I was experimenting and testing my skills. He also pushed me to complete tasks that I knew I wasn’t skilled at, such as sketching reconstructions of crinoids and the like. I also was very active in the Women in Science and Engineering group on campus, which helped immensely. My M.S. advisor is a fantastic mentor, researcher, and mother. She was the perfect next step in my academic career and alongside several of her peers have shown my generation that you can in fact have it all – as long as you are hyper organized and fight for what you deserve. I also have a very caring Ph.D. advisor, who makes sure that my lab mate and I get the credit we deserve. Supportive mentors have been absolutely paramount in my academic career and I likely wouldn’t have made it this far without my growing support system.
Here is another good article: Evolution of paleontology: Long-term gender trends in an earth-science discipline It also points out potential strategies for increased support of women at the end.