Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What Can I Do? Make Women Feel Like They Belong

Today’s suggestion comes from CSWA alum, Caroline Simpson. Caroline is an associate professor at Florida International University. She works on star formation and evolution in dwarf galaxies. She is also a long-time editor of AASWOMEN, CSWA’s weekly e-newsletter.

One of the ways to help members of underrepresented groups succeed professionally is to indicate clearly that they are already part of the ‘club.’ Subtle things can help with this and are easy to do. Here is an idea regarding women in astronomy, but it can be extended to any underrepresented group:

Make sure that there are visible images that women are and have been important contributors to the field, and that your department or workplace recognizes that. Put up posters (commercial or homemade) representing women in science. I just asked our department chair to purchase this one for our hallway. Seeing things like this helps telegraph to students that the department is, in fact, 'female friendly' ;) or at least that it is 'female conscious.'

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