Friday, December 19, 2014

AASWOMEN Newsletter for December 19, 2014

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of December 19, 2014
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, & Elysse Voyer

This week's issues:

1. Cogitations on Gender at the "dot Astro" Conference

2. On Being a Transgender Astronomer

3. Results from a survey of gender and question asking among UK astronomers

4. Thinking about how girls think about themselves

5. Recognizing and Inspiring Women Scientists

6. Mass Moments: Henrietta Leavitt Buried in Cambridge

7. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

8. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

9. Access to Past Issues


1. Cogitations on Gender at the "dot Astro" Conference

From: Brooke Simmons via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Last week I was at the .Astronomy meeting at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago. .Astro ("dot astro") is less a meeting about any specific science and more a meeting about being a scientist, and using the internet to do and communicate science. It's also more than that, and partly its structure is what makes it hard to define: about half of it is an unconference whose agenda is set on the fly by the participants. This choose-your-own-adventure meeting means that each .Astro is different, but it also means that a single .Astro is different for each person there.

Read more at:

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2014/12/cogitations-on-gender-at-dot-astro.html

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2. On Being a Transgender Astronomer

From: Jessica Mink via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

While I consider myself to be a woman astronomer, I have not always been one. Since I made much of my reputation with a different gender expression and remain in the field, I have to accept the fact that I am also a transgender astronomer, and as a representative of that small group, serve as an ambassador to the rest of the astronomical world.

While gradually (over 40 years!) transitioning from male to female, I have thought a lot about gender and its various facets, but when I volunteered to write a blog entry representing my gender minority for the Women in Astronomy blog, I realized that I hadn't been very systematic about it. It is likely that most readers don't have any trans* friends (that they know about), but this far into the 21st century, most thinking people are aware of our existence and might even know of one of us.

Read more at:

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2014/12/on-being-transgender-astronomer.html

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3. Results from a survey of gender and question asking among UK astronomers

From: Karen Masters [karen.masters_at_port.ac.uk]

I'd like to point the readers of this list to a study of the gender of astronomers asking questions at the UK National Astronomy Meeting in June 2014. This work was a followup of the similar study done by Davenport et al. at the Jan 2014 AAS Meeting, using much the same methodology. Much of the analysis was done at the first ever NAM Hack Day (sponsored by .dotAstronomy and Github). It was interesting to see the points of similarities and subtle differences between the UK and US astronomical communities in these results. We would welcome your comments on the results and our suggested actions.

Asking gender questions: Results from a survey of gender and question asking among UK Astronomers at NAM2014

The paper can be read in full in the Astronomy&Geophysics Magazine:

http://astrogeo.oxfordjournals.org/content/55/6/6.8.full

Or on arxiv at:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1412.4571

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4. Thinking about how girls think about themselves

From: Rick Fienberg [rick.fienberg_at_aas.org]

By Athene Donald

Self-perception colours our choices, limits or drives our ambitions, and affects how we come across to others. So role models and cultural icons matter when it comes to the messages we give our children. If we tell boys not to cry, they can grow up feeling they are wimps if they let their emotions overspill. If we give girls the message that their primary role is to nurture talent in others not themselves, there is the likelihood they will not aspire to be leaders. And, if we praise the actions of WAGS for having snagged a Premier League player, girls may assume that they only exist in relation to others.

This is equally true if we give young girls role models in the form of impossibly proportioned Barbie dolls dressed to kill instead of more realistic toys with ‘ambitions’ to make something of themselves. This is the logic behind the crowd-sourced doll Lammily (not the most resonant of names) that has recently hit the market. With vital statistics corresponding to those of an average 19-year-old, i.e. 32-31-33, and with accessories including stick-on acne, freckles and scars, the idea is that children will see this doll as ‘just like them’ (or at least their big sister) and so their imagination will be sparked in different ways from that which Barbie encourages.

On a very limited study, with no statistical significance, it would appear to be working.

To read more:

http://physicsfocus.org/athene-donald-girls-self-perception

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5. Recognizing and Inspiring Women Scientists

From: Daryl Haggard [dhaggard_at_amherst.edu]

From an email by Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer:

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to visit the U.K. Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street. During a tour of the residence, we were shown a painting of an elegantly dressed woman. "Of course, you know Lady Lovelace," we were told.

Imagine our surprise to learn that we were staring at a portrait of the woman who is considered to be the world's first programmer. Our group had never heard of her.

Ada Lovelace's experience remains all too familiar: So many of the breakthrough contributions of women in science, technology, engineering, and math is considered to be the world's first programmer. Our group had never heard of her.

Ada Lovelace's experience remains all too familiar: So many of the breakthrough contributions of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields continue to go untold, too often fading into obscurity.

Join us in doing something to change that: Listen to women from across the Obama administration share the untold stories of women who've inspired us.

Then add an untold history of your own, and make a commitment to share these stories in any way you can to help inspire more young women and men to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/women-in-stem

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6. Mass Moments: Henrietta Leavitt Buried in Cambridge

From: Daryl Haggard [dhaggard_at_amherst.edu]

By "Mass Moments" http://www.massmoments.org

On this day in 1921, Henrietta Leavitt, a scientist at the Harvard Observatory, was buried in Cambridge. Her premature death cut short a brilliant career as an astronomer. In the late nineteenth century, observatory director Edward Pickering wanted to map the brightness and color of the visible stars. He proposed a painstaking process of manually counting and computing the images revealed in thousands of photographs of starfields. Pickering knew he would need bright, meticulous, and dedicated people willing to work for low pay. So he hired women. These recent college graduates threw themselves into the work with enthusiasm. They discovered new stars and developed laws that provided a "cosmic yardstick" for measuring the universe, proving that women could be astronomers and scientists.

Read more at:

http://www.massmoments.org/moment.cfm?mid=358

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7. 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.

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8. 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.

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9. Access to Past Issues

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

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

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