Friday, April 8, 2016

AASWomen Newsletter for April 08, 2016

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of April 08, 2016
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Elysse Voyer, & Heather Flewelling

This week's issues:

1. The Myth and Reality of Meritocracy

2. Techies

3. Review: Rise of the Rocket Girls

4. Upcoming Webinar from AWIS: "No Means No: Respond to Harassment in the Moment"

5. FACT SHEET: Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in Media and Toys so that Our Children Can Explore, Learn, and Dream Without Limits

6. Women Are Still Perceived as Unfit for STEM Fields, a Wellesley College Study Shows

7. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

8. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

9. Access to Past Issues


1. The Myth and Reality of Meritocracy

From: Jessica Mink via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

[This guest post is written by Carolyn Brinkworth (she/her/hers), Director for Diversity, Education & Outreach at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. This piece is a modified excerpt from her upcoming Master's Critique, "From Chilly Climate to Warm Reception: Experiences and Good Practices for Supporting LGBTQ Students in STEM"]

One of the persistent and prevalent beliefs affecting STEM fields is the "myth of meritocracy" (McNamee & Miller, 2004) - the belief that science rewards scientists of equal aptitude with equal rewards, completely independent of their gender, ethnicity, race, or any other characteristic not related to their academic ability. The idea of meritocracy is seductive, because we're taught that it's the bedrock on which science is based; it's the belief that good ideas rise to the top, and our community treats all good ideas the same, no matter who develops and presents them. Unfortunately, a raft of research clearly demonstrates that this is not the case, and if we persist in this unsubstantiated belief in meritocracy, it perpetuates an uglier myth - that the lack of diversity in STEM is due to a lack of aptitude amongst those who are underrepresented in our field.

Read more at

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2016/04/the-myth-and-reality-of-meritocracy.html

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2. Techies

From: Jessica Kirkpatrick via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Techies is a portrait and interview project by Helena Price that focuses on sharing stories of people who tend to be underrepresented in the greater tech narrative. The project has two main goals: to show the outside world a more comprehensive picture of people who work in tech, and to bring a bit of attention to folks in the industry whose stories have never been heard, considered or celebrated. The belief is that storytelling is a powerful tool for social impact and positive change.

Women-in-Astronomy-Blogger Jessica Kirkpatrick was on of the 100 "techies" profiled. Her interview discusses her experience as a woman in astrophysics, a person with a disability, a woman in tech, and a Bay Area native who has watched her home town dramatically change by the rise of Silicon Valley.

Read more at

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2016/04/techies.html

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3. Review: Rise of the Rocket Girls

From: Matthew Greenhouse [matthew.a.greenhouse_at_nasa.gov] and Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

by Jeff Foust

In a recent speech, NASA administrator Charles Bolden said the agency, while making progress in making the demographics of its workforce more like the nation in general, still had work to do. The agency's deputy administrator and chief scientist are women, as are two of the nine center directors. "That's a big deal," he said. But, he said later, "the complexion of the agency is nowhere near where I'd like to see it be. We're better than most government agencies, and most places on the outside, but that's not good enough. We can be better."

NASA, perhaps, can be better, but it has improved dramatically in the professional opportunities available for women over its history. That's most visibly played out in the astronaut corps, with women going from being excluded from consideration during the agency's race to the Moon to comprising half of the most recent class of astronauts. Women have also found increasing opportunity in science, engineering, and management.

In Rise of the Rocket Girls, author Nathalia Holt tells one part of that story, through the women who worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in its early years. In much of that early history, virtually the only technical jobs available for women were as "computers", performing the calculations needed for the male engineering staff to design rocket engines, calculate trajectories, and other tasks in an era before electronic computers.

Read more at

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2955/1

Also see the NPR author interview at

http://www.npr.org/2016/04/05/473099967/meet-the-rocket-girls-the-women-who-charted-the-course-to-space

and a review of the book on Nature.com (subscription required) at

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v532/n7597/full/532034a.html

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4. Upcoming Webinar from AWIS: "No Means No: Respond to Harassment in the Moment"

From: Christina Richey [christina.r.richey_at_nasa.gov]

by Megan Urry

The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is hosting a webinar on Thursday, April 14, at 12:00 pm ET about strategies for effectively responding to harassment in the moment. The one-hour webinar will be led by guest speaker Dr. Sherry Marts, CEO of S*Marts Consulting, long-time executive and career coach, expert on harassment issues, and women's self-defense instructor.

Learn more and register for this webinar here

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1922638291783417091

AWIS is kindly offering complimentary registration for this webinar to AAS members. Enter "AAS" as the registration code when registering to view this webinar for free.

Find the original announcement at

http://aas.org/posts/news/2016/04/upcoming-webinar-awis-no-means-no-respond-harassment-moment

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5. FACT SHEET: Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes in Media and Toys so that Our Children Can Explore, Learn, and Dream Without Limits

From: Elysse Voyer [elysse.voyer_at_gmail.com]

by The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

Research shows that children's interests, ambitions, and skills can be shaped early on by the media they consume and the toys with which they play, potentially influencing everything from the subjects they choose to study to the careers they ultimately pursue. Consequently, those early experiences can affect not just their development and life choices, but the composition of our workforce and the strength of our economy for decades to come.

For example, right now, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) industries offer some of the highest-paying, most in-demand careers - there are over 600,000 unfilled jobs in information technology alone - yet women hold only 29 percent of STEM jobs. Communities across America are also experiencing teacher shortages, and nursing is one of the fastest-growing professions - yet fewer than 25 percent of public school teachers and only 9 percent of nurses are men.

Learn more here

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/04/06/factsheet-breaking-down-gender-stereotypes-media-and-toys-so-our

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6. Women Are Still Perceived as Unfit for STEM Fields, a Wellesley College Study Shows

From: Elysse Voyer [elysse.voyer_at_gmail.com]

by Olivia Vanni

There's been much talk - including from the White House - about encouraging women to pursue STEM fields. The Science and Engineering Indicators for 2014 showed that women are vastly underrepresented in STEM, comprising 28 percent of employed science and engineering professionals.

While efforts are focused on enticing women to go into these fields, you can't help but wonder what is prompting this gender discrepancy in STEM. As a recent psychological study would suggest, the general populace still perceives women to be inherently incompatible with science professions. And greater exposure to women in science could be the key to changing these views.

Learn more here

http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2016/04/04/research-shows-gender-stereotypes-preventing-women-in-stem

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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

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8. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

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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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