Tuesday, May 11, 2010

AASWOMEN for April 23, 2010

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of April 23, 2010
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson amp; Michele Montgomery

This week's issues:

1. Harassment: Serial Offenders

2. You Might Be a Senior Woman if . . .

3. AAS Special Session: Addressing Unconscious Bias

4. CSWA Town Hall: Designing a 21st Century Astronomy Career Track

5. AAS Special Session: Mentoring Astronomers

6. Gender Wage Gap in 2010:

7. CSWA Special Session and Town Hall at the Seattle AAS Meeting

8. NGCP April Webcast: Why So Few?

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

10. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN


1. Harassment: Serial Offenders
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu], Pat Knezek [pknezek_at_NOAO.edu]
 
During our tenures as chair of CSWA, we became aware of individuals in the Astronomy community who might be characterized as serial offenders. This is an issue which is sticky and uncomfortable, but it comes up repeatedly. We've all heard the rumors. One astronomer is notorious for relentlessly pursuing and propositioning women at conferences. Another is a sexual harasser who is well into his second generation of victims. A third has maneuvered his way into a mentoring position to get close to a new crop of innocents.

These individuals continue to harass in part because they can get away with it. They primarily victimize those in vulnerable positions - students and post docs - who cannot fight back effectively. Even those that have been caught can get another job in another city and start over with a clean record.

What can be done to try and put an end to this behavior? In many cases we have dealt with these incidents informally and on a case by case basis. What is really needed, however, is a mechanism to identify individuals who fall into the serial category and deal with them appropriately.

Please note that we are not talking here about individual cases. CSWA has advice for victims of sexual harassment on our web site, and most institutions have their own policies. See item #3 at:

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

Our intention here is to ask specifically about the Serial Offenders. We are looking for connections with expertise in this area.

AASWOMEN, if your institution has an expert in sexual harassment issues, would you be willing to contact that expert and ask for advice on Serial Offenders?

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2. You Might Be a Senior Woman if . . .
From: A couple of anonymous women who didn't think they were all that senior!

[And now for something completely different . . . we enjoyed this list! If you would like to contribute, please send suggestions to us at aaswomen_at_aas.org -- Eds.]

Have you heard Jeff Foxworthy's comedy routines that start, "You Might Be a Redneck if . . . ?" Well here's a list of a different sort.

You might be a Senior Woman if . . .

- you are asked to give invited talks on "women's issues" but never on science; - you fondly remember the good old days when you had the bathroom at work to yourself; - your AAS abstracts continually get assigned to the poster session, even though your male peers get talks; - everyone expects you to retire even though the men your age don't; - you *want* to retire even though the men your age don't; - you seem to be the only one who ever asks your colleagues to use inclusive language; - you're still the token woman on committees; - your boss refers to your subordinates as your children; - your department needs a new undergraduate advisor and everyone assumes you will do it because you "care;" - people think your former student is the leader of your group; - your former student thinks he is the leader of your group; - people say you don't do your own work (a trick question: if you do your own work, you're no good b/c you should have postdocs and students doing the work, but if you don't do your own work obviously you're no good);

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3. AAS Special Session: Addressing Unconscious Bias
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

CSWA Special Session on Unconscious Bias Please invite a colleague, research supervisor, or department chair to join us! When: Monday, May 24, 2010, 10:00 AM -11:30 AM Where: Hibiscus AB

We all have biases, and we are (for the most part) unaware of them. In general, men and women BOTH unconsciously devalue the contributions of women. This can have a detrimental effect on grant proposals, job applications, and performance reviews. Sociology is way ahead of astronomy in these studies. When evaluating identical application packages, male and female University psychology professors preferred 2:1 to hire "Brian" over "Karen" as an assistant professor. When evaluating a more experienced record (at the point of promotion to tenure), reservations were expressed four times more often when the name was female. This unconscious bias has a repeated negative effect on Karen's career. Ref: Steinpreis, Anders, amp; Ritzke (1999) Sex Roles, 41, 509. In this session, we want to introduce the concept of unconscious bias and also give recommendations on how to address it using an example for a faculty search committee. The process of eliminating unconscious bias begins with awareness, then moves to policy and practice, and ends with accountability. Speakers: Joan Schmelz (Univ. of Memphis), Patricia Knezek (WIYN), Caroline Simpson (Florida International Univ.), and Michele Montgomery (Univ. of Central Florida).

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4. CSWA Town Hall: Designing a 21st Century Astronomy Career Track
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

CSWA Town Hall Please invite a colleague, research supervisor, or department chair to join us! When: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM Where: Hibiscus AB

Is your Department/Organization/Institution "Female-Friendly?" It can't be all about numbers, but if the percentage of women at all levels is typical, is that good enough, or is it only the first step? If there are no senior women at the highest level, can a place really be female-friendly? How important are role models and mentoring? Is your Department/Organization/Institution "Family-Friendly?" Is there a family leave policy and nearby affordable childcare? How important are things like flexible hours and the option to stop the tenure (or equivalent for non-academic positions) clock? The CSWA Town Hall at the Miami AAS meeting will take up the challenge of designing a 21st century astronomy career track. The Town Hall will include at least 30 minutes for discussion and answering questions from the audience.

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5. AAS Special Session: Mentoring Astronomers
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

CSMA-CSWA Special Session on Mentoring Please invite a colleague, research supervisor, or department chair to join us! When: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM Where: Hibiscus AB

Whether formal or informal, mentoring relationships are an important part of every scientist's career through graduate school, job searches, and the tenure process. Yet despite its obvious importance, mentor development is often left to chance rather than given the attention and dedication required to be a truly effective mentor. The CSMA and CSWA are sponsoring a special session devoted to an exchange of information and best practices on mentoring as part of the summer 2010 AAS meeting. This session will consist of a participatory mini-workshop to discuss and practice implementing effective mentoring techniques.

The speaker is involved in developing and conducting research mentor training programs affiliated with the Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching; the Delta Program in Research, Teaching, and Learning; and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. The mentor training has been designed to be effective for STEM disciplines and has been field tested with astronomers in particular. The seminar has been adapted for use with proteges who range in experience from grad students to postdocs, to faculty. The primary content will be the presentation and discussion of a few case studies. Topics that will be discussed in the context of mentoring are expectations, communication, independence, diversity, understanding and ethics. Speaker: Eric Hooper (UW-Madison Research Mentor Training Development Team)

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6. Gender Wage Gap in 2010:
From: Amy Simon-Miller [amy.a.simon-miller_at_nasa.gov]

I'd like to think it is better in our field than in society as a whole, but I don't know that for a fact. Anyway, a sobering and eye-opening look at the gender wage gap in 2010:

Equal pay for equal work? Don't bet on it. President Obama may have made the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the very first act he signed into law as president, but women still earn just 77 cents on the dollar on average, when compared to men. African-American and Hispanic women earn even less. Yes, the number is an old refrain, repeated so often it has little impact. But in 2010, there's more reason for everyone-women and men-to care about the persistent pay gap than ever before. Since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, women's wages have risen less than a half-penny per year, from 59 cents then to 77 cents now. Which is why, in 1996, the National Committee on Pay Equity created "Equal Pay Day," an awareness campaign and yearly marker of just how much more women must work to earn what men earned in the year past. April 20 is Equal Pay Day this year, meaning that women must work 110 days into 2010 to make what their fathers, husbands, brothers, and male colleagues earned in 2009.

Read more at:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/236683

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7. CSWA Special Session and Town Hall at the Seattle AAS Meeting
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

The Winter AAS Meeting will be 09-13 January 2011 in Seattle, WA. Proposals for Special Sessions and Town Halls are due 15 May. If you have any ideas for topics that you think CSWA should cover, please let me know.

Summaries and presentations from recent meetings are available on our web site:

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

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8. NGCP April Webcast: Why So Few?
From: WIPHYS April 20, 2010

NGCP April Webcast: Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Pacific

In an era when women are increasingly prominent in medicine, law and business, why are so few women in science and engineering fields? A new research report by AAUW (the American Association of University Women) funded by the National Science Foundation, presents compelling evidence that can help to explain this question. Join us to hear a presentation of eight recent research findings profiled in Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics that point to important environmental and social barriers - including stereotypes, gender bias and the climate of science and engineering departments in colleges and universities- that continue to block women's participation and progress in science, technology, engineering, and math. The presentation will include ideas for what each of us can do to open scientific and engineering fields more fully to girls and women. Register:

http://www.ngcproject.org/events/events.cfm?eventid=168

The goal of the National Girls Collaborative Project is to maximize access to shared resources within projects and with public and private sector organizations and institutions interested in expanding girls' participation in STEM. Webcasts are offered throughout the year addressing research-based strategies in informal learning and evaluation and assessment. Webcasts and resources are archived and available for viewing.

Karen Peterson, PI, National Girls Collaborative Project amp; CEO EdLab Group Lynnwood, WA 98036 voice: 425-977-4750 e-mail: kpeterson_at_edlabgroup.org Web: www.edlabgroup.org

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9. 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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10. 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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