Wednesday, October 21, 2009

WiA 2009, Wednesday part 2

Catherine Cesarsky: IAU Women in Astronomy Statistics
IAU General Assembly in Rio this year: 31.6% participants were women; IAU membership as a whole: 14.8% after Rio
Presented statistics on various countries around the globe.
Highest % of women in IAU: Argentina 36%; Japan has lowest - 6%, keeping in mind that the IAU membership does not reflect astronomers in total. Still, looking at national society membership data, Asia seems to do worst in terms of women's representation, Latin America does best.
In all countries, the number of women decreases dramatically at the most senior levels, few or no awards given to women
Most interesting datum: in Europe, seems to be inverse correlation between % of women in national parliaments vs. % of women in astronomy

Abigail Stewart: Addressing Unconscious Bias
  • Talked about a number of studies on how just the gender of the name on a CV or job application affects evaluation.
    In one study, two CVs were presented, the only difference being whether being on the PTA was mentioned or not. Mothers (listed PTA on CV) were less likely to be called, promoted, hired. Fathers, however, were not disadvantaged, seen as more committed and offered higher salaries! (This result drew a big gasp from the audience.) I believe the citation is Correl, Bernard & Paik 2007, American Journal of Sociology.
  • Critical mass can turn things around: increasing the proportion of women raises the ratings of all women
  • Implicit Association Test:
  • Talked quite a bit about the STRIDE program at U of Michigan which has been quite successful at increasing proportion of women and maintaining that recruitment. Emphasized that policies and outcomes must be monitored and that leaders need to be evaluated and rewarded to be held accountable

Joyce Winterton: Building the Next Generation of Astronomers
Her talk was mostly about NASA activities for outreach, K-12 education, higher education. Told us we should all go out and volunteer and do outreach and what not. Several questioners (including me) asked her how we're supposed to volunteer all this time when we need to be writing papers or grant proposals or teaching or whatever our professional duties are? We don't get rewarded for these efforts other than a warm fuzzy feeling. Listing all your E/PO efforts on your CV doesn't make an impression on hiring committees and doesn't count toward your research/teaching/service requirements as a faculty member. Women and minorities get told we need to get out and do the E/PO work, but if we don't get tangible rewards or are even penalized for it, isn't that a double whammy?