Issue of June 24, 2011
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson, and Michele Montgomery
This week's issues:
1. One Up, One Down: Your Comments
From: Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]
[The June 17, 2011 issue of AASWOMEN contained information gained recently from a workshop that provided advice to women in science on "Communicating in a Male Dominated Field." One piece of advice was to ignore insults from male colleagues as males, in general, communicate via "One Up, One Down." Here are two readers feedback, one of whom requests your advice.]
From Sabine Moehler [smoehler_at_eso.org] "I wonder if this nasty experience might be related to the field you work in. So far I never had that experience, even though most of my colleagues are men. I have been working in stellar astrophysics for more than 20 years and yet have to come across a reaction like the one you describe. I hope that my experience is more typical than yours."
From Anonymous "I'm so lucky to have several collaborators and advisors, male and female, whom I can count on to give me constructive feedback and treat even my half-formed ideas in a thoughtful, encouraging, and non-patronizing manner. But there are other people whose treatment of me and/or other women is more ambiguous. How do deal with someone who: - Is polite to you in a group setting but very patronizing one-on-one, or visa versa - Was patronizing or ignored you when you first met, but now that you have an interesting new result is very flattering and encouraging - Or is flattering and encouraging only when he wants your help with something - Always treats *you* respectfully, but you've heard or even witnessed him being rude and dismissive toward someone else - Or you've heard or witnessed him engaging in "mildly" sexist behavior like discouraging women students from becoming astronomers if they want to have children
How do you work with people like this? Do they deserve to be snubbed? How do you respond to praises from people who have only seen this astronomer's good side?
When someone who was originally patronizing starts to seem genuinely interested in my work, I begin to think I misjudged him originally. And I feel a bit bad about enjoying an interesting conservation with someone I know is rude to others.
I don't expect anyone to be perfect and I'm very willing to forgive people for their mistakes. And as a very junior person, I expect to have to prove myself to some extent. But a lot of these people don't seem to have any inkling of how inconsistent their behavior is."
[Please respond with advice to AASWomen (see How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter below) or Women in Astronomy Blog atBack to top.
2. Statistics of Women in Planetary Science
From: Michele M. Montgomery_at_women_in_astronomy_blog
The 2011 numbers are in and they are shocking! Of the 45 that responded, the top 11 institutions that have all-male planetary science tenured or tenure-track faculty, and at least four planetary science faculty, are ranked below in order of most-to-fewest faculty numbers:
1. UC Santa Cruz 2. Washington University 3. California Institute of Technology 4. Cornell University 5. University of Central Florida 6. Boston University 7. Brown University 8. Princeton University 9. Rice University 10. University of Maryland 11. University of Michigan
Twenty four percent (24%) of institutions that have tenured or tenure track planetary science faculty are all male! However, the percentage of women in temporary planetary science positions (faculty, research scientists, post docs) at these 48 institutions is 28%! The University of Arizona has four tenured or tenure-track females, however this number pales in comparison to the thirty tenured or tenure-track men. On a brighter note, MIT earns a shiny silver star as it has the highest female/male tenured or tenure-track planetary science faculty at 3/8.
Is the problem with the above listed institutions their hiring practices? Statistics imply that men are hired for tenure-track and women are hired for non-tenure track planetary science positions, especially at the above-listed institutions. If institutions have all male faculty, how likely is it that a women will be interviewed and hired? Is what women planetary science faculty have to offer considered not worthy at the above listed institutions? If so, why?
The 2011 Astrophysics Job Rumor Mill short list is all-male for UC Santa Cruz. Cornell and University of Maryland have hired only males in 2011 although Cornell's short list contains a few women. University of Michigan's shortlist has only one male astronomy candidate. Princeton University's shortlist was more even at one female and one male. Anna Frebel is short-listed at MIT, University of Arizona, and UC Berkeley. Do these institutions think she is the only female in astronomy worthy of an interview? Statistics of which universities interview the same female/male candidates and only one female candidate are also note worthy for future studies.
To read more statistics on planetary science, please see
To see the Rumor Mill, please see
[Note: Michele Montgomery is at the University of Central Florida (number 5 in the list above) in a non-tenure track line and the only female in that planetary science group. The reader can draw their own conclusion on whether this planetary science group considers women contributions worthy as my opinion is very biased.]Back to top.
3. Women Speaker Numbers at Solar Physics Division Meeting 2011
I recently attended the Solar Physics Division (SPD) 2011 Meeting, in Las Cruces, NM. In light of the recent discussions regarding female invited speakers, I kept track of the gender of the speakers at this meeting on my own, and was disheartened at the results: It appears that women were underrepresented in the number of oral presentations given, either in the 'invited' (or otherwise distinguished) category, or the 'contributed'. Below are the detailed results.
There were 7 total distinguished speakers (Special Invited, Public Lecture, Parker Lecture, Hale Prize, Harvey Prize), 6 ( 86%) of whom are male, and 1 (14%) of whom is female. Of the regular, or contributed speakers, there were a total of 70 talks, 55 (79%) of whom were male, and only 15 (21%) of whom were female. Did the science organizing committee exhibit a bias in assigning the abstracts submitted by women to posters? Do these numbers suggest a bias towards giving talks to males more often than to females?
One way to address this question is to ask: how does the 20% female /80% male ratio compare with the percent of total conference attendees who were female? How does the 20%/80% ratio compare with the percent of submitted abstracts which had female first authors? How does this ratio compare with the percent of submitted abstracts which had female first authors who specifically requested a talk? I do not have answers to these questions, but perhaps others in the community know these numbers.
Perhaps the 20%/80% numbers are in proportion to the number of females who attended the conference. Perhaps females attended the conference in equal numbers, but were less likely than males to submit an abstract as the first author. Perhaps females were less likely than males to request a talk. Whatever the reasons - whether it is a bias exhibited by the organizing committee, or that females are simply requesting talks less often than males - it is important to understand them.
Finally, there was some outcry from the SPD community over the number of talks during the meeting relative to the number of posters. It was felt that far too many people who requested talks were instead given posters. If it is the case that males were preferentially chosen out of the pool of submitted abstracts to give talks, it is further frustrating that too many people who wanted a talk did not get one.
I am curious how others who were or were not at the meeting felt about this, and what solutions exist.
[Please respond with advice to AASWomen (see How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter below).]Back to top.
4. APS International Travel Grant
From: WIPHYS, June 17, 2011
Following the initiative of the APS Forum on International Physics (FIP), the sponsors of the APS International Travel Grant Award Program (ITGAP) recognize that funding for collaborations between developed and developing country scientists is often insufficient to meet existing needs and opportunities. The ITGAP provides up to US $2,000 for travel and lodging expenses for international travel while visiting a collaborator. Deadline is July 13, 2011. For more details and to apply, visit:Back to top.
5. APS Professional Skills Development Workshop
From: WIPHYS, June 17, 2011
Thanks to funding from the National Science Foundation, APS will offer another year of Professional Skills Development Workshops for Women Physicists. The March 2012 meeting workshop in Boston will focus on postdoctoral associates and senior faculty and scientists. The April 2012 Meeting workshop in Atlanta will focus on postdoctoral associates and early-career faculty and scientists. Senior-level graduate students are also encouraged to apply.
For more information and to apply, visit:Back to top.
6. Job Announcements
From: WIPHYS, June 17, 2011
[The AASWOMEN newsletter has adopted a simplified format for job ads. We will no longer be posting the entire ad, but rather a 1-line description of the position and a web site -- Eds.]
The Rochester Institute of Technology Department of Physics invites applications for two or more non-tenure track faculty positions at the rank of Lecturer. Positions begin August 22, 2011 and may have the possibility of renewal. The primary responsibility of the position is teaching introductory physics in an activity-based, workshop format. All application materials must be submitted online in one pdf file by July 8, 2011 at
(search for IRC47414).Back to top.
7. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
[Please remember to replace "" in the below e-mail addresses.]
To submit an item to the AASWomen newsletter, including replies to topics, send email toBack to top.
8. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
To subscribe or unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter, please fill in the required information at:
If you experience any problems, please email itdept_at_aas.orgBack to top.
9. How to Access Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter
Past issues of AASWomen are available at
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.Back to top.
AASWList mailing list
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