Issue of November 12, 2010
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson, and Michele Montgomery
This week's issues:
*** FOLLOWING JOB POSTINGS TAKEN FROM WIPHYS ***
1. Low Percentages of Women Invited Speakers (Cont'd.)
From: Nancy Morrison (CSWA) [NMorris_at_UTNet.UToledo.Edu]
Since Friday's posting about the publication of the table on percentages of women invited speakers [http://www.aas.org/cswa/bulletin.board/2010/11.05.10.html new submittals have been pouring in. Although we started out with the premise that the percentages of women invited speakers is low, most conferences look pretty good - 20% or above. I am in the process of updating the table:
I'll do a little statistical analysis and construct a histogram of the percentages.
[We will publish the statistics in an upcoming newsletter. However, additions to this table are still needed. We have two constraints: (1) this list is for invited speakers only (not public lecturers, contributed speakers, session chairs, etc.); (2) you need to identify the gender of 100% of the invited speakers (for names that are ambiguous and unfamiliar, a Google search usually helps). Please send the information needed for each column in the table, if possible along with a link to the conference web site, to the CSWA webmaster, Nancy Morrison, NMorris_at_UTNet.UToledo.Edu . Thanks to those who have already contributed. -- eds.]Back to top.
2. Recommendation Letters Costing Women Jobs/Promotions
From: Claire Cramer [ccramer108_at_gmail.com]
A recommendation letter could be the chute in a woman's career ladder, according to ongoing research at Rice University. The comprehensive study shows that qualities mentioned in recommendation letters for women differ sharply from those for men, and those differences may be costing women jobs and promotions in academia and medicine.
[In recommendation letters...] female candidates were described in more communal (social or emotive) terms and male candidates in more agentic (active or assertive) terms. "We found that being communal is not valued in academia," said [Randi] Martin, the Elma Schneider Professor of Psychology at Rice. "The more communal characteristics mentioned, the lower the evaluation of the candidate."
Words in the communal category included adjectives such as affectionate, helpful, kind, sympathetic, nurturing, tactful and agreeable, and behaviors such as helping others, taking direction well and maintaining relationships. Agentic adjectives included words such as confident, aggressive, ambitious, dominant, forceful, independent, daring, outspoken and intellectual, and behaviors such as speaking assertively, influencing others and initiating tasks.
"Communal characteristics mediate the relationship between gender and hiring decisions in academia, which suggests that gender norm stereotypes can influence hireability ratings of applicants," Martin said.
The "pipeline shortage of women" in academia is a well-known and researched phenomenon, but this study is the first of its kind to examine the recommendation letter's role in contributing to the disparity and evaluate it using inferential statistics and objective measures. It's also the first study to show that gender differences in letters actually affect judgments of hireability.
"This research not only has important implications for women in academia but also for women in management and leadership roles," said [Michelle] Hebl, professor of psychology and management at Rice. "A large body of research suggests that communality is not perceived to be congruent with leadership and managerial jobs."
The research team also noted that letter writers included more doubt raisers when recommending women, using phrases such as "She might make an excellent leader" versus what they used for male candidates, "He is already an established leader."
"Subtle gender discrimination continues to be rampant," Hebl said. "And it's important to acknowledge this because you cannot remediate discrimination until you are first aware of it. Our and other research shows that even small differences -- and in our study, the seemingly innocuous choice of words -- can act to create disparity over time and experiences."
More information: The full article can be found at
Martin, Hebl and Madera's study, "Gender and Letters of Recommendation for Academia: Agentic and Communal Differences," was published last year in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Applied Psychology.Back to top.
3. CONSTELLATION - A Model Program to Promote Women in Astronomy?
From: Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]
CONSTELLATION is a European Commission FP6 Marie Curie Research Training Network involving a large number of European astronomy institutions whose core aim was to train young scientists through research into the origin of stellar masses. The network was started in December 2006 and it ends at the end of this month, November 2010. The young scientists were involved in one or more of the research projects carried out by CONSTELLATION and receive training through this research, as well as participation in a variety of schools, workshops, and conferences to be held by the network throughout Europe. Frequent visits and longer-term collaborative exchanges between the teams was a core aspect of the collaborative work.
As part of the project, care was to be taken to engage women scientists as much as possible, as well as maintaining a rough balance in terms of country and level of experience. The appointment of a network Experienced Researchers (ER; postdocs) was envisaged to help manage each of work packages (WPs), thereby ensuring that the young researchers (YRs) are also being trained in management. Each institution was to endevour to promote equal opportunities between men and women in the implementation of the project.
Also part of the project, attention was to paid to following equal opportunity best practices in hiring. In particular, the network was to encourage female applicants, with a target that at least 40% of the YRs hired by the network be women. In part, this target was to be achieved by publicizing the significant proportion of senior women astronomers in CONSTELLATION. The high level participation of these women was to provide a congenial environment for female YRs in which same-gender mentoring can readily occur. CONSTELLATION positions was also be posted to appropriate forums concerning women in science, in order to attract the widest pool of female applicants. While the selection of personnel must be primarily based on scientific quality and potential, in instances of equal qualifications, preference was to be given to a female candidate.
Although not an original goal of the network, the outcome statistics show predominantly 50%-50% women/men hires: A total of 17 young researchers were hired in the first three years of the network: 8 Early Stage Researchers (ESR; PhD students) and 9 Experienced Researchers, with 3 short-term ESR positions available in Year 4. Another interesting statistic would be a comparison of the women-to-men salaries, but this information is unfortunately not available yet.
Our compliments to this program for such an outstanding statistical result on women/men hires! This CONSTELLATION program just might be a model for future programs to promote equality in the workplace.
More details on the network and its aims and the Marie Curie Actions (to create a network to train young researchers) can be found at
andBack to top.
4. Professional Skills Development Workshops for Women Physicists
From: WIPHYS, November 4, 2010
Applicants for the Professional Skills Development Workshops for Women Physicists should note that the abstract submission deadlines for the March and April Meetings are Friday, November 19, 2010 and Friday, January 14, 2011, respectively. Please consider applying early for the March and April Professional Skills Development Workshops to coincide with the meeting abstract deadlines (official deadlines are December 10, 2010 for the March workshop and January 10, 2011 for the April workshop). Please seeBack to top.
5. Department of Homeland Security Scholarships for Undergraduates
From: WIPHYS, November 12, 2010
The DHS Scholarship and Fellowship Program is intended for students interested in pursuing the basic science and technology innovations that can be applied to the DHS mission. This education program is intended to ensure a highly talented science and technology community to achieve the DHS mission and objectives. Eligible students must be studying in a homeland security related science, technology, engineering and mathematics field with an interest, major, or concentration directly related to one of the homeland security research areas. For more information and to apply, visitBack to top.
6. Department of Energy (DOE) Scholars Program
From: Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]
Department of Energy (DOE) Scholars Program is now accepting applications for Summer 2011. Visit
for more information or to apply - deadline is January 31, 2011.
Are your students interested in participating in the most recent scientific research and development? Would they like to gain experience in discovering solutions to power and securing America?s future, specifically in energy security, nuclear security, scientific discovery and innovation, environmental responsibility and management excellence?
The Department of Energy Scholars Program offers summer internships with stipends of up to $650 per week depending on academic status to undergraduates, graduate students and post graduates at accredited institutes of higher education. Majors accepted include: engineering; physical sciences; environmental sciences; computer science and information technology; physics; program management; math; statistics; safety and health; accounting and finance; law; and other related discipline areas.
Requirements include: U.S. Citizenship; 18 years of age or older; and a cumulative GPA of 2.90/4.00.
Internships provide participants with the opportunity to conduct hands-on research while showcasing their education, talent and skills. Interns will also have a unique opportunity to explore the options for federal careers with DOE.Back to top.
7. Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Teaching fellowships
From: Christine Shupla [Shupla_at_lpi.usra.edu]
The application process for 2011 Teaching Fellowships is now open. Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) Science and Mathematics Teaching Fellows are chosen from among young men and women who have earned or are in the process of earning a degree in science, mathematics or engineering from a recognized institution of higher education. Application deadline for 2011 Teaching Fellowships is January 12, 2011.Back to top.
8. Scientific, Technical, and Outreach Opportunities with CAASTRO in
From: Sarah Maddison [smaddison_at_swin.edu.au]
The Centre for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) is a new Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence scheduled to commence operations in early 2011. CAASTRO aims to position Australia as the world-leader in wide-field radio and optical astronomy by answering fundamental questions about the nature of the Universe, by developing innovative ways of processing enormous data sets, and by enabling a diverse set of opportunities for students and early career researchers. See
for more information.
CAASTRO is now advertising a range of scientific, technical and outreach opportunities spread across Australia:
* CAASTRO postdoctoral position in transient surveys - AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY * CAASTRO postdoctoral position in global Epoch of Reionisation signature experiments - CURTIN UNIVERSITY * CAASTRO postdoctoral position in algorithm development for slow radio transients - CURTIN UNIVERSITY * CAASTRO postdoctoral position in fast radio transients - CURTIN UNIVERSITY * CAASTRO education and outreach coordinator - CURTIN UNIVERSITY * CAASTRO postdoctoral position in theoretical cosmology - UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE * CAASTRO research scientist in low-frequency radio astronomy - UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE * CAASTRO postdoctoral position in observational cosmology - UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE * CAASTRO postdoctoral position in cosmological simulations - SWINBURNE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY * CAASTRO postdoctoral position in extragalactic hydrogen surveys - UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY * CAASTRO postdoctoral position in WALLABY science and commissioning - UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA * CAASTRO GPU programmer in radio frequency spectral and time analysis - UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA
For more information and to apply, please visit
Applications close on 7 December 2010. CAASTRO supports a flexible working environment: for Australian citizens and permanent residents, most opportunities are available as either full-time or part-time positions (due to visa restrictions, international applicants can be considered only on a full-time basis).Back to top.
9. Faculty Position in Gravitational Physics/Cosmology
From: WIPHYS, November, 12, 2010
The Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee invites applications for a tenure-track assistant or tenured associate professorship, beginning Fall 2011. Areas of interest include but are not limited to: cosmology, numerical relativity, computational astrophysics, and astro-particle physics. We are seeking candidates who have an outstanding research and publication record and who have promise of excellent teaching. PhD in physics, astronomy or closely related field is required.
The position is associated with the Center for Gravitation and Cosmology, home to seven professors, one visiting professor, 11 post-doctoral researchers and staff scientists, and a number of graduate and undergraduate students. UWM is committed to excellence in research, and provides substantial internal funding opportunities. Further information about the university, the department and the Center can be found at
To apply, submit a cover letter, CV (including list of publications), and description of research interests electronically at
and arrange to have three letters of reference emailed to
or sent to:
CGC Physics Search Committee University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Department of Physics 1900 E. Kenwood Blvd. Milwaukee, WI 53211
Review of applications will begin on December 1, 2010 and will continue until the position is filled.Back to top.
10. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN
[Please remember to replace "" in the below e-mail addresses.]
To submit to AASWOMEN: send email to aaswomen_at_aas.org. All material sent to that address will be posted unless you tell us otherwise (including your email address).
To subscribe or unsubscribe to AASWOMEN go to
and fill out the form.
If you experience any problems, please email itdept_at_aas.orgBack to top.
11. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN
Past issues of AASWOMEN are available at
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.Back to top.