Saturday, November 2, 2013

AAS Women for November 1, 2013

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of November 1, 2013
eds: Michele M. Montgomery, Daryl Haggard, Nick Murphy, & Nicolle Zellner

This week's issues:

1. Why men should advocate gender equity
2. How Do We "Demand Equality"?
3. Preventing Sexual Harassment at Science Fiction Conventions
4. Career Profiles: Astronomer to Research Scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
5. Annual Call for Nominations for NASA science advisory subcommittees
6. Registration deadline for 3rd Gender Summit
7. The Myth of "I'm bad at math"
8. Job Opportunities
9. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
11. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

1. Why men should advocate gender equity
From: Ed Bertschinger via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com
Recently I was asked to speak about gender equity at the Institute for Theory and Computation at Harvard. I chose to elaborate a theme that has been on my mind lately. In three brief parts:
I. Why men should advocate gender equity
Women are half the potential talent pool for any organization. Broadening the talent pool increases the talent. Conversely, excluding or discouraging women can only weaken an organization whose mission is not exclusionary. This applies to individual faculty research groups, academic departments, universities and the entire scientific enterprise. The same practices that improve gender equity improve success and satisfaction for everyone. A good climate for women is a good climate. Your competitors will be happy to absorb the talent you can't retain.
An example: By working hard to improve the climate and to more effectively recruit women who previously were preferentially declining our offers in favor of the competition, MIT successfully increased the percentage of women graduate students in physics from 13.7% in 2007 to 19.8% in 2013. We now exceed the national average and our students are better than ever. This is a good beginning, but significant progress towards full representation requires encouragement and support of women in physics more widely, including at the undergraduate level.
Other reasons I've heard why men should advocate gender equity:
-It's more fun to have a balanced, diverse group of students and colleagues.
-Our daughters, sisters, mothers and partners deserve equity.
-Meritocracy can not tolerate exclusion.
-It's their job!
To read more, please see
http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2013/10/why-men-should-advocate-gender-equity.html
Back to top.
2. How Do We "Demand Equality"?
From: Elizabeth Rivers via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com
Two questions have come up repeatedly in the wake of the New York Times article, "Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?":
1) How are we supposed to "demand equality" when we are only graduate students (or undergraduates, or postdocs); we have no power; what can we possibly do?
2) Why should we keep at it when we know from all these data that we are going to have to work twice as hard for half as much recognition, less money, and fewer job opportunities?
In response to the first question I have compiled a list of advice I have heard from other female physicists and observed in my own life. It is by no means comprehensive, but I hope to give you some strategies you can try. Don’t forget that "demanding equality" doesn't have to be aggressive, but sometimes you do need to make yourself heard and, more importantly, understood.
Problem: Women are perceived as less competent than men.
Solution: Give great talks. So many scientists underestimate the importance of practicing public speaking. You need to practice, do it in front of people, and then get feedback. Repeatedly. If you still do not feel confident in your ability to present your work, try a public speaking workshop or an improv acting class. You will quickly learn that what all these things really give you is confidence. When I was gearing up to defend my thesis my advisor told me, "You are the expert on this topic. No one else in the room knows as much about it as you do." Which is a good thing to remember, especially when you are being bombarded with questions. Don't apologize, don't let yourself be bullied, and if someone is being truly obnoxious just move on. And don't forget, most people form their overall impression of you in the first few seconds, so start confident, dress well, and if possible, make sure the person introducing you has material to talk you up with.
To read more, please see
http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2013/10/how-do-we-demand-equality.html
Back to top.
3. Preventing Sexual Harassment at Science Fiction Conventions
From: Nick Murphy via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com
In January 2013, I attended Arisia, a sci-fi convention in Boston. For most attendees, Arisia is a fun excursion where fans can dress up as their favorite sci-fi character, play board games for hours on end, and speculate about whether or not the Borg developed a taste for Earl Grey tea after attempting to assimilate Captain Picard. Less appreciated is that for authors, editors, and vendors, it is also a workplace and a professional environment. Amazing work is being done within the sci-fi community to prevent sexual harassment, and these strategies provide insight into what we in the astronomical community can do.
Anti-harassment work began months before the convention when representatives from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center held a workshop on how to respond when people report being sexually harassed or assaulted. The first response is critical in setting the course for a survivor's recovery. By making this workshop open to everyone, the organizers helped ensure that the community as a whole is holding itself responsible for ending sexual harassment.
To read more, please see
http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2013/10/preventing-sexual-harassment-at-science.html
Back to top.
4. Career Profiles: Astronomer to Research Scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
From: Laura Trouille via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com
The AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy and the AAS Employment Committee have compiled dozens of interviews highlighting the diversity of career trajectories available to astronomers. The interviews share advice and lessons learned from individuals on those paths.
Below is our interview with Christine Jones, an astronomer turned research scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). She is the Consortium director for the Smithsonian Grand Challenge of Unlocking the Mysteries of the Universe.
To read more, please see
http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2013/10/career-profiles-astronomer-to-research.html
Back to top.
5. Annual Call for Nominations for NASA science advisory subcommittees
From: Jeffrey Kruk [Jeffrey.W.Kruk_at_nasa.gov]
NASA invites nominations for service on NASA science advisory subcommittees of the NASA Advisory Council. U.S. citizens may nominate individuals and also submit self-nominations for consideration as potential members of NASA's science advisory subcommittees. NASA's science advisory subcommittees have member vacancies from time to time throughout the year, and NASA will consider nominations and self-nominations to fill such intermittent vacancies. NASA is committed to selecting members to serve on its science advisory subcommittees based on their individual expertise, knowledge, experience, and current/past contributions to the relevant subject area.
The following qualifications/experience are highly desirable in nominees, and should be clearly presented in their nomination letters:
• At least 10 years post-Ph.D. research experience including publications in the scientific field of the subcommittee they are nominated for, or comparable experience;
• Leadership in scientific and/or education and public outreach fields as evidenced by award of prizes, invitation to national and international meetings as speaker, organizer of scientific meetings/workshops, or comparable experience;
• Participation in NASA programs either as member of NASA mission science team, Research & Analysis program, membership on an advisory/working group or a review panel, or comparable experience;
• Leadership in scientific and/or education and public outreach fields as evidenced by award of prizes, invitation to national and international meetings as speaker, organizer of scientific meetings/workshops, or comparable experience;
• Participation in NASA programs either as member of NASA mission science team, Research & Analysis program, membership on an advisory/working group or a review panel, or comparable experience;
• Good knowledge of NASA programs in the scientific field of the subcommittee they are applying for, including the latest NASA Science Plan (available as a link from http://science.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy ), or comparable experience; and,
• Knowledge of the latest Decadal Survey conducted by the National Research Council or other relevant advisory reports for the scientific field of the subcommittee.
These are not full-time positions. Successful nominees will be required to attend meetings of the subcommittee approximately two or three times a year, either in person (NASA covers travel-related expenses for this non-compensated appointment) or via telecom and/or virtual meeting medium.
DATES: The deadline for NASA receipt of all public nominations is November 22, 2013.
ADDRESSES: Nomination and self-nomination packages from interested U.S. citizens must be signed and must include the name of the specific NASA science advisory subcommittee of interest; nominations and self-nomination packages are limited to specifying interest in only one NASA science advisory subcommittee per year. The following information is required to be included as part of each nomination and self-nomination package: (1) a cover letter (with the name of the specific NASA science advisory subcommittee of interest); (2) a professional resume (one-page maximum); and, (3) a professional biography (one-page maximum). All public nomination packages must be submitted electronically via attachments to a single email to one of the following addresses:
Astrophysics Subcommittee (APS) -- aps-execsec@hq.nasa.gov
Earth Science Subcommittee (ESS) -- ess-execsec@hq.nasa.gov
Heliophysics Subcommittee (HPS) -- hps-execsec@hq.nasa.gov
Planetary Protection Subcommittee (PPS) -- pps-execsec@hq.nasa.gov
Planetary Science Subcommittee (PSS) -- pss-execsec@hq.nasa.gov
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: To obtain further information on NASA's science advisory subcommittees, please visit the NAC Science Committee’s subcommittee Web site at
http://science.nasa.gov/science-committee/subcommittees
Back to top.

6. Registration deadline for 3rd Gender Summit
From: Elizabeth Pollitzer [ep_at_portiaweb.org.uk]
The aim of the 3rd Gender Summit, which is focused on North America, is to interconnect all relevant stakeholders in a Call to Action to achieve positive change towards greater diversity in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) workforce and leadership, and greater inclusion of biological sex and gender considerations or the "gender dimension" in research content and process. The event will be held on the 13 - 15 November 2013 at the Washington Hilton in Washington DC. The registration deadline for this meeting is 4 November 2013.
For more information, please see
http://www.gender-summit.com
Back to top.

7. The Myth of "I'm bad at math"
From: Caroline Simpson [simpsonc_at_fiu.edu]
By Miles Kimball & Noah Smith
"I'm just not a math person."
We hear it all the time. And we’ve had enough. Because we believe that the idea of “math people” is the most self-destructive idea in America today. The truth is, you probably are a math person, and by thinking otherwise, you are possibly hamstringing your own career. Worse, you may be helping to perpetuate a pernicious myth that is harming underprivileged children—the myth of inborn genetic math ability.
Is math ability genetic? Sure, to some degree. Terence Tao, UCLA's famous virtuoso mathematician, publishes dozens of papers in top journals every year, and is sought out by researchers around the world to help with the hardest parts of their theories. Essentially none of us could ever be as good at math as Terence Tao, no matter how hard we tried or how well we were taught. But here’s the thing: We don't have to! For high-school math, inborn talent is much less important than hard work, preparation, and self-confidence.
To read more, please see
http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2013/10/the-myth-of-im-bad-at-math/280914
Back to top.

8. Job Opportunities
For those interested in increasing excellence and diversity in their organizations, a list of resources and advice is here:
http://www.aas.org/cswa/diversity.html#howtoincrease
-Postdoctoral position in Low-mass Stars and Brown Dwarfs at Boston University http://jobregister.aas.org/job_view?JobID=46185
Back to top.

9. 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.
When submitting a job posting for inclusion in the newsletter, please include a one-line description and a link to the full job posting.
Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.
Back to top.

10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter
Join AAS Women List by email:
Send email to aaswlist+subscribe_at_aas.org from the address you want to have subscribed. You can leave the subject and message blank if you like.
Be sure to follow the instructions in the confirmation email. (Just reply back to the email list)
To unsubscribe by email:
Send email to aawlist+unsubscribe_at_aas.org from the address you want to have UNsubscribed. You can leave the subject and message blank if you like.
To join or leave AASWomen via web, or change your membership settings:
https://groups.google.com/a/aas.org/group/aaswlist
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
Back to top.

11. Access to Past Issues
http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.
Back to top.