Friday, May 23, 2014

AASWOMEN Newsletter for May 23, 2014

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of May 23, 2014
eds: Michele M. Montgomery, Daryl Haggard, Nick Murphy, & Nicolle Zellner

This week's issues:

1. Why We Resist Unconscious Bias
2. June AAS Town Hall: Addressing Sexual Violence on College Campuses 
3. When CSMA? Will Women Astronomers Outnumber Men in the Near Future?
4. Career Profiles: Astronomer to Tenure Track Faculty at a Teaching-Focused Institution
5. Request for Info: Gender Bias in Oral Exams
6. 4th Gender Summit (EU)
7. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
8. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
9. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

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1. Why We Resist Unconscious Bias
From: Jessica Kirkpatrick via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Editor’s note: This is reproduced from Meg Urry’s January 2014 Issue of STATUS: A Report on Women in Astronomy

About ten years ago, I sat down at my computer to take the Implicit Association Test devised by Mahzarin Banaji, then my colleague at Yale University, now at Harvard University. I had just read a story in The New York Times about how she and her colleagues test reaction times for paired words and images, calibrating the experimental subject (in this case, me) on innocuous images, while we type “yes” or “no” to indicate whether the word belongs with the image. For example, you would type “yes” for a flower paired with the word “beautiful,” and “no” for an iceberg and the word “hot.”

I was pretty nervous. Prof. Banaji isn’t interested in flowers or icebergs. She wants to know whether we are as color-blind and gender-blind as we would like to be. Has our society progressed to a point where we treat everyone the same way? Where women and men have equal opportunities to become physicists and homemakers?

Read more about this research at 


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3.  June AAS Town Hall: Addressing Sexual Violence on College Campuses 
From: Nicholas Murphy via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

At the June AAS meeting in Boston, the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA) is hosting a town hall on “Addressing Sexual Violence on College Campuses” (Tuesday, June 3, 12:45 pm in Staffordshire, Westin Copley Place). This town hall will be led by representatives from the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) who will discuss how community awareness is instrumental in dismantling campus rape culture at our colleges and universities. They will counter harmful myths about sexual violence and discuss research on repeat perpetration and acquaintance rape.

Find out more about this Town Hall at 


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4.  When CSMA? Will Women Astronomers Outnumber Men in the Near Future?
From: Neil Gehrels via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

You may have heard the "On Point" news article on May 12 on public radio about men vs women college graduation rates.  The basic point was that the percentage of men receiving college degrees in the US is less than 50% and falling.  This made me think about the effect on astronomy.

First, here are the college numbers.  The Census Bureau reported that 685,000 men and 916,000 women graduated from college in 2009, or 43% men and 57% women.  The numbers for men have been flat since 1980, while women are steadily rising.  The radio show was focused on the stagnation in the male graduation rates and what can be done about it. 

I considered a different angle:  will women soon have equal numbers to men in astronomy departments?  

Find out what Dr. Gehrels thinks about this at 


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5.  Career Profiles: Astronomer to Tenure Track Faculty at a Teaching-Focused Institution
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 Agnes Kim, a tenure track faculty in physics at a teaching-focused institution. She loves her job and writes, “There is freedom in projects I pursue and variety in my daily activities”. 

To read the interview with Agnes Kim, please see 


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6. Request for Info: Gender Bias in Oral Exams
From: Daryl Haggard [dhaggard_at_northwestern.edu]

Several readers have written requesting information, scholarly research in particular, about gender bias in oral examinations (vs. written ones). One reader inquired, "I was wondering if there's any data suggesting that this approach (an oral general knowledge exam) might be more [or less] gender biased than a written exam (particularly in the physical sciences)."

If you have insight into this question, please contact us at aaswomen_at_aas.org or post your response on the AAS Women blog at http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/ .

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7. 4th Gender Summit (EU)
From: Elizabeth Pollitzer [ep_at_portiaweb.org.uk]

This year's summit will focus on Horizon 2020 and on the strategic and crosscutting roles assigned to gender in the H2020 work programme. For the first time in the history of EU, funding gender equality and gender dimension in research content have been included as a criterion of success. 

Gender Summit events bring together scientists, gender scholars, policy makers and other stakeholders in the science endeavor and will include presentations and discussions ranging from biological to social and environmental factors that influence and impact quality and efficacy of research and innovation for women and men, and females and males.  

Find more details at 


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8. 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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9. 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: 


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: 


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10. Access to Past Issues


Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.