Monday, March 22, 2010

AASWOMEN for March 19, 2010

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of March 19, 2010
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery

This week's issues:

1. Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedures for AAS Meetings

2. What to Do When YOU Are the Chair

3. Neither Men Nor Mice

4. WISE WOMEN: Girls Learn the Value of Science, Math in Novel Program

5. Teacher Aims to Get More Girls Involved in Science

6. Summit on Gender and the Postdoctorate

7. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN

8. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN


1. Anti-Harassment Policy and Procedures for AAS Meetings
From: Debra Elmegreen [elmegreen_at_vassar.edu]

[Do you know an astronomer who seems to take pleasure in humiliating young scientists when they're presenting a poster or answering questions after a talk? CSWA asked the AAS to look into this issue. Here is the reply from the AAS president elect -- Eds.]

We are all familiar with overly aggressive people, who can make us uncomfortable through their words or actions. But that aggression can cross the line into harassment, and the AAS has taken steps to alleviate such problems. It is worth reiterating that we have an AAS Ethics Statement, adopted by Council in Jan. 2010, and an Anti-Harassment Policy for AAS Meetings, proposed in 2008. These are now available through a direct link on the AAS homepage (‘Legal and Policy Information’ at the bottom of the sidebar). In particular, the latter policy states in part that ‘all participants in Society activities will enjoy an environment free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.’ There is a mechanism in place in that policy for complaints to be reported to any of the AAS Officers, including the Executive Officer, who will then take appropriate actions.

Kevin Marvel and the AAS Staff have also amended the Session Chairs instructions to include explicit mention of the responsibility of chairs to thwart harassment; see

http://aas.org/meetings/session_chair

[which states in part that] session chairs are responsible for ensuring a professional atmosphere in each session, consistent with the AAS professional ethics guidelines and anti-harassment policies. Session chairs should especially be wary of harassment of early-career speakers in the form of overly challenging or humiliating questioning by session attendees. If a question is inappropriate or unprofessional, it is appropriate for the session chair to intervene or take another question.

In addition, we can all make efforts to be aware of and help prevent such transgressions at AAS meetings (in addition to our home institutions).

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2. What to Do When YOU Are the Chair
From: Caty Pilachowski [catyp_at_astro.indiana.edu]

The AAS policy goes a long way toward addressing the problem of harassment at meetings, but what do you do if you are the session chair? Sometimes comments and questions from the audience are so shocking and inappropriate that we can be stunned, leaving the speaker to fend for her/himself. Remember that others in the audience are shocked as well, and look to you to intervene on behalf of the speaker -- so you need to be prepared.

Depending on the incident, chairs could respond in a variety of ways. Perhaps the mildest might be, "That question is inappropriate in this session. I suggest that you discuss the point privately with the speaker at another time." A stronger statement might be, "That comment is out of order," or even "It is our responsibility as members to adhere to the Society's anti-harassment policy. That comment/question is out of order." In the most egregious cases, a chair might even say, "I apologize on behalf of the Society for that inappropriate comment." Then, if you can, ask a question of your own to help the speaker regain equilibrium, and encourage another question from the audience, particularly from someone you think would be sympathetic.

[If you have any other suggestions or advice on this topic, please send them to us at aaswomen_at_aas.org -- Eds.]

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3. Neither Men Nor Mice
From: John Leibacher [leib_at_noao.edu]

Here is a NY Times article by Peggy Klaus entitled, “Neither Men Nor Mice.”

Last fall, while working with corporate women across various industries, job levels and generations, an age-old issue re-emerged at a near-fever pitch. Women were obsessed about being labeled a “bitch,” and to a degree I hadn’t seen since the 1990s.

The reason for their nervousness? Sure, they saw obnoxious women on reality TV shows. And they endured all the talk-show lampooning of Sarah Palin and Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign. Yet one issue was even more personal: A recession was in full swing, and jobs were on the line.

The remainder of the article can be found here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/jobs/07preoccupations.html?ex=1283922000&en=6cf272020e6b0637&ei=5087WT.mc_id=JO-D-I-NYT-MOD-MOD-M140-ROS-0310-HDR&WT.mc_ev=click

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4. WISE WOMEN: Girls Learn the Value of Science, Math in Novel Program
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

An article by Grant Welker appeared recently in the Herald News on Wise Women:

New Bedford — When competition is global for science and engineering jobs, the United States cannot afford to have half its brainpower — women — not working in those fields, Jean MacCormack told teachers and scientists at the Ocean Explorium Thursday.

MacCormack, the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, was the keynote speaker at the kickoff of the second year of a series called Women in Science and Engineering — or Wise — which encourages girls to consider jobs in those professions. “Women in science isn’t as common as you’d think in this day and age,” MacCormack said.

For the remainder of the article, please see:

http://www.heraldnews.com/news/x593980287/WISE-WOMEN-Girls-learn-the-value-of-science-math-in-novel-program

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5. Teacher Aims to Get More Girls Involved in Science
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

An article by Amanda Memrick appeared recently in Gaston Gazette on getting girls involved in science.

Judith McDonald was the only girl in her high school physics class. She continued to see fewer women in fields like science and math in college when she majored in engineering. “I said, ‘We’ve got to change this,’” said McDonald, who teaches science education at Belmont Abbey College. McDonald is trying to make a change by starting early.

Girls at North Belmont Elementary are honing their math and science skills through the Girls Leading Girls program that matches Belmont Abbey College women majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics with fifth grade girls.

For the remainder of the article, please see:

http://www.gastongazette.com/news/science-44133-involved-fewer.html

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6. Summit on Gender and the Postdoctorate
From: Hannah_at_Women in Astronomy Blog

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2010/03/summit-on-gender-and-postdoctorate-vol.html

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7. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN

[Please remember to replace "_at_" in the below e-mail addresses.]

To submit to AASWOMEN: send email to aaswomen_at_aas.org. All material sent to that address will be posted unless you tell us otherwise (including your email address).

To subscribe or unsubscribe to AASWOMEN go to

http://lists.aas.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/aaswlist

and fill out the form.

If you experience any problems, please email itdept_at_aas.org

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8. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN

Past issues of AASWOMEN are available at

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

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

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