Sunday, April 1, 2012

AASWOMEN for March 30th, 2012

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of March 30, 2012
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson, and Michele Montgomery

This week's issues:

1. Survey of Planetary Workforce

2. Study of Structures of Inequality in Astronomy

3. Gender Roles and Infant/Toddler Care

4. Historic Photos of Female Scientists at Work

5. Science Education and Communication National Meeting

6. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

7. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

8. Access to Past Issues


1. Survey of Planetary Workforce
From: Fran Bagenal [Fran.Bagenal_lasp.colorado.edu]

The results of an extensive survey of the planetary workforce is now available at

http://lasp.colorado.edu/mop/resources/links/PlanetaryScienceWorkForceSurvey2011

Part A is a survey of academic departments, including planetary science, that was published last year. We now have completed Part B, which is a survey to individual members of the AAS/DPS, the AGU Planetary Science Section, the Meteortical Society, as well as attendees of the LPSC, distributed summer 2011. This survey is aimed at professional planetary scientists (with a PhD) working in the US. You can download a 2-page summary and full report of the survey.

One respondent in four (25%) was female. This is consistent with the percentage of PhDs in astronomy (34% in 2010, rising from 12% in the early 1980s) and somewhat higher than in physics (19% in 2008). Studies of the academic pipeline in physics, astronomy and other STEM fields show that women do not apply for faculty positions in proportion to the fraction of PhDs awarded to women. As reported in the companion survey of planetary science departments, only 14% of planetary faculty are women. This is well below the 40% of PhDs from these same departments awarded to women over the past 2 years. An important issue to pursue in a follow-up survey may be why women planetary scientists seem to be preferentially employed in non-academic positions.

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2. Study of Structures of Inequality in Astronomy
From: Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

UCLA Center for the Study of Women published in one of their January 2012 CSW Update newsletters a pilot study on the 'Structures of Inequality in Astronomy through Narrative Analysis and Social Network Visualization' by Luis Felipe et al. The authors of the study looked at the 40 top-ranked astronomy and astrophysics departments in the USA and noticed an underrepresentation of minority groups. Through mentorship graphs, they found that female and minority astronomers tend to cluster among astronomers that have the same national and ethnic background. Using a map showing research institutions around the world, they are finding patterns of astronomer movement to and from certain institutions. The patterns show clustering by gender, ethnicity, and nationality. Factors affecting the patterns include the institution, mentorship, and coauthorship.

To read more on the findings of the pilot study, you can download the article from

http://www.csw.ucla.edu/publications/newsletters/2011-2012/january-2012

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3. Gender Roles and Infant/Toddler Care
From: Brian Marsony [womeninastronomy.blogspot.com]

I would like to call attention to a recently published study comparing the roles of men and women in caring for young children (Rhodes amp; Rhodes, 2012). The study is a survey of male and female tenure-track college professors with children under age 2 at universities with parental leave available..

The study found that even with parents who thought child care should be split equally, fathers of young children almost never did half of the infant care. This was true even for men who took parental leave and for women who did not. Women were much more likely to take leave, with 69% of women taking leave compared to just 12% of men. Women also reported enjoying infant care activities more than men, one possible reason why women preform more of these tasks.

To read the full blog post, please see

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/#item1

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4. Historic Photos of Female Scientists at Work
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

Harley Thronson (GSFC) alerted us to a commentary on a collection of historic photos of female scientists at work.

Maggie Koerth-Baker wrote on boingboing.net:

I'm sure there are a lot of people reading this who will have a hard time understanding why I love this collection of historic photos of female scientists. "Why female scientists?" I can already hear them asking. "Aren't you doing a disservice to female scientists by singling them out as something special?"

But here's the thing. These photos are special, and what they show is something that the vast majority of us have not had much exposure to: Images of women (who are not Marie Curie), working in the sciences prior to the 1970s or 1980s. And that matters.

When I was in school, I was presented with a history of science that excluded these women entirely. Other than a precious few exceptions that seemed to prove the rule, what I learned was that women had not been scientists. Even if you follow that up with a helpful reminder that women can be scientists today if they want, that edited version of history is (from my personal experience as a little girl) discouraging to little girls.

Meanwhile, it turns out that there were plenty of women working in the sciences, all along. Presenting a version of history that pretends they didn't exist devalues them, and contributes to the idea that, when we talk about the history of women in science, we're really just being PC, rather than talking about things that actually happened.

To read more:

http://boingboing.net/2012/03/23/historic-photos-of-female-scie.html

To view the entire collection:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonian/sets/72157614810586267/with/4405670925

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5. Science Education and Communication National Meeting
From: Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), along with the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), will host the 124th annual meeting and national conference on 'Communicating Science' August 4-8, 2012 in Tucson, Arizona. The meeting should be of interest to education and outreach professionals; formal and informal educators; scientists; print/online authors; journalists; public information officers; and others involved in communicating science. Early registration ends May 31, 2012.

For more information, please see

http://www.astrosociety.org/events/2012mtg/registration.html

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6. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

To submit an item to the AASWOMEN newsletter, including replies to topics, send email to aaswomen_at_aas.org

All material will be posted unless you tell us otherwise, including your email address.

Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.

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7. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

Join AAS Women List by email:

aaswlist+subscribe_at_aas.org

Be sure to follow the instructions in the confirmation email. (Just reply back to the email list)

Join AAS Women List by link:

https://groups.google.com/a/aas.org/group/aaswlist/subscribe?hl=en

You will have to create a Google Account if you do not already have one, using

https://accounts.google.com/newaccount?hl=en

Google Groups Subscribe Help:

http://support.google.com/groups/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=46606

Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.

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8. Access to Past Issues

http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

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