Friday, May 1, 2015

AASWOMEN Newsletter for May 01, 2015

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of May 01, 2015
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, & Elysse Voyer

This week's issues:

1. The Limits of Labels, Categories, and Classifications

2. Uncomfortable conversations and my responsibility within our community

3. I was wrong and I am sorry

4. 2015 Susan Niebur LPSC Networking Event Summary

5. Attitudes of post-docs towards mid-career female scientists

6. How I Became a NASA Engineer Despite My Disability

7. Congress Probes Possible Bias against Women in U.S. Science Funding

8. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

10. Access to Past Issues


1. The Limits of Labels, Categories, and Classifications

From: Rebecca Oppenheimer via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

I am a half-Jew, white, private-schooled, astronomer from the Upper West Side of Manhattan who loves exoplanets and pizza. I am quite certain I am not unique in holding all those labels. In fact I know a few others who do. Except I am also a transgender woman.

Human beings have had a need, since Aristotle’s fundamental writings, to label and categorize everything. It makes it easier to discuss phenomena.

One might, for example, examine the contentious notion of whether Pluto is a planet. The word "planet" is so loaded that few even know what the word originally meant—a wanderer among the stars, the etymological meaning of the word from ancient Greek.

Read more at:

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-limits-of-labels-categories-and.html

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2. Uncomfortable conversations and my responsibility within our community

From: Christina Richey via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

“I’m about to have an uncomfortable conversation with y’all. I may turn red and become visibly emotional. I apologize in advance.” That statement is how I start almost every single one of my talks on anti-sexual harassment policies. I know that the topic is hard for many in the room to discuss, that I may trigger an unwanted response, either in the form of a repressed thought or a negative defensive emotion, at any point in that hour. I know that in order for those in the room with real power to hear about this topic, they need to see first-hand just how this unfortunate issue can negatively impact a person’s work, and their primary objective as a scientist. But I also know that for some people in the room, what they really want is for me to give them a hug and tell them it will be okay. I know that my words will have a direct influence on the audience and I must act according to the level of respect and understanding every single person in that room deserves. That’s not easy, and I know up-front that I have put myself into a position of responsibility.

Read more at:

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/04/uncomfortable-conversations-and-my.html

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3. I was wrong and I am sorry

From: Jessica Kirkpatrick via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

I was wrong. I made a mistake. I messed up.

Why are these phrases so hard for us to say?

I used to think that admitting any of the above was the worst thing I could possibly do. It triggered all sorts of shame, fear, and impostor feelings. If I didn't do everything perfectly -- the first time -- there was something wrong with me. If people knew there was something wrong with me, then they would know I was a fake and didn't deserve to be here. So when someone pointed out to me that I had done something wrong, my first reaction was to be defensive, make justifications, deny the mistake or wrong-doing. I acted this way because of some warped belief that it would make me look better and feel better about the situation.

It did neither.

Read more at:

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/04/i-was-wrong-and-i-am-sorry.html

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4. 2015 Susan Niebur LPSC Networking Event Summary

From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

Over 100 scientists participated in the 7th annual Susan Niebur Networking Event at the recent Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. Scientists gathered in groups of 10-12 to discuss with experienced mentors topics related to the two-body problem, writing grant proposals, working at a 4-year undergraduate college, and using social media effectively, among others.

Read the summaries of their findings at

https://womeninplanetaryscience.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/2015-susan-niebur-lpsc-networking-event-summary

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5. Attitudes of post-docs towards mid-career female scientists

From: Daryl Haggard [dhaggard_at_amherst.edu]

Hello CSWA and AASWOMEN,

I received an anonymous inquiry about aggressive behavior from a young female scientist toward a mid-career female scientist (excerpt below). The writer is wondering whether we have experienced/witnessed similar behaviors, or if there is any literature addressing this question.

"[Recently] I had a young female postdoc act in a rather rude/challenging way that was completely unnecessary in a group science chat we were having with a famous visitor (details intentionally withheld) and it made me think about the fact that the only other person I recall acting quite like that to me was another young, female postdoc (years ago). This got me thinking about the HST proposal bias against women apparently being strongest for "mid-career" women. So... I'm wondering if I'm just more sensitive when a young woman is rude or if there is something about this (did she have some weird unconscious bias to tear me down because I am a mid-career female?). This really bothered me (obviously, right?), but I didn't want to attack her right back."

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6. How I Became a NASA Engineer Despite My Disability

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

by Heather Wood Rudulph

Victoria Garcia turned her love of problem solving into a career as a NASA engineer. Landing a job in one of the government's most elite organizations is no easy feat. Competition is fierce, job requirements are demanding, and expectations are high. That's stressful for anyone, and Garcia has done it all as a deaf person.

Now 32, Garcia works for the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In her job, she helps coordinate all the logistics and safety components of the spacecraft we only see in photographs and video. Over a series of email interviews, Garcia shared her story of finding the job of her dreams.

Read more at:

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/career/interviews/a34010/get-that-life-victoria-garcia-nasa-engineer

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7. Congress Probes Possible Bias against Women in U.S. Science Funding

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

by Fiona Case and ChemistryWorld

At the request of three Congresswomen the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has launched an investigation into whether gender bias is influencing the awarding of research grants, which would be illegal under US law.

There is evidence of gender disparity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) research at US universities and 4 year colleges—women hold only 35% of all tenured and tenure-track positions and 17% of full professor positions in Stem fields. This discrepancy has motivated numerous studies to discover factors that could be holding women back.

Read the rest at:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/congress-probes-possible-bias-against-women-in-u-s-science-funding

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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:

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10. Access to Past Issues

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

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

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