Thursday, October 18, 2018

A personal recommendation for the AAS to collect data to determine participation of underrepresented groups

By members of the DPS Professional Culture and Climate Subcommittee

In order to determine how new policies affect the equitable participation of astronomers from all backgrounds, we propose that the AAS collect detailed demographic information on its members and use these data to understand the barriers for members of underrepresented groups. While the AAS workforce surveys do ask demographic information (Workforce Survey of 2016 US AAS Members Summary Results), they can not easily be compared to award or author information in the way a member database could. As shown below, collection of demographic data by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) has enabled studies addressing gender disparities in geosciences. Furthermore, the AGU has enacted policy changes based on these findings. Collection of demographic data by AAS would enable determination of areas that are lacking in gender representation, in addition to areas that are lacking in representation with respect to persons with disabilities, underrepresented minorities, etc. This would enable AAS to implement policy changes to enable equitable participation of astronomers from all backgrounds and to test if the new policies are effective.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Our Current Political Climate and the Confirmation Process: the Community Reacts

By Sarah Tuttle

The last few weeks have been difficult for many folks as a highly politicized confirmation process played out on Capitol Hill. Issues around gender and race swirled barely below the surface as we watched echoes of the past, with Anita Hill reminding us about how we were in some ways reenacting recent history (and in other ways dancing around it). For many of us, this pushed a lot of buttons and renewed memories of trauma even outside of the explicit scope of Dr. Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony – from alcoholic family members, to abusive partners, to harassment or assault at school and work.

It is a lot to carry.

I’ve collected a small number of responses from women throughout our field to give us some space to reflect, to be together in community even when we are many miles apart, and to acknowledge that sometimes the hardest part of our work isn’t the intellectual challenges of our research but existing in a world that resists making room for us to exist.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Donna Strickland and Frances Arnold win Nobel Prizes

The winners of the Nobel Prizes were announced this week and two women, Donna Strickland and Frances Arnold, have been honored for their extraordinary contributions to the sciences.

On Tuesday, Donna Strickland became the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. She's the first woman to win the prize in 55 years.

Here are a select number of articles about Dr. Strickland's win: