Friday, May 22, 2015

AASWOMEN Newsletter for May 22, 2015

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of May 22, 2015
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, & Elysse Voyer

This week's issues:

1. Letter of Recommendation for Letters of Recommendation

2. #GirlsWithToys

3. The Broader Impact of Broader Impacts

4. In Science, It Matters That Women Come Last

5. Being "out" as a #scimom

6. Gazing at the Future: The experiences of male and female astronomy doctoral students in the UK

7. Job Opportunities

8. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

10. Access to Past Issues


1. Letter of Recommendation for Letters of Recommendation

From: Neil Gehrels via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

My wife pointed out to me an interesting article in the May 2015 issue of Science about gender bias when writing letters of recommendation. It is by Science Editor-in-Chief Marcia McNutt and describes her personal experience in reviewing graduate student proposals for small research grants. She found systematic differences in letters of recommendation for female and male proposers that were detrimental to the females.

Here are some specifics. Ten percent of the 60 proposers had one or more letter with inappropriate content for the purpose of the letter and all such cases were in letters for the women. Prof. McNutt cites examples of mentioning that the candidate was "so good to her elderly mother", "spending time in nature with her husband and her animals friends". Another discussed the candidate's balancing being a scientists and a mother. Also, the language was on-average different between men and women in a detrimental way for women. In some cases, the women got adjectives such as "friendly", "kind", "pleasant", "humble", and frequently "nice". Typical language for the male candidates, and also many of the females candidates, included "brilliant", "creative", "hard-working", insightful" and "showing leadership".

Read more at:

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/05/letter-of-recommendation-for-letters-of.html

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2. #GirlsWithToys

From: Ed Bertschinger via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

"Many scientists, I think, secretly are what I call 'boys with toys.' I really like playing around with telescopes. It's just not fashionable to admit it." These are the words of Caltech Professor and Optical Observatories Director Shri Kulkarni, shared with NPR's Joe Palca on Weekend Edition Saturday May 16, 2015.

The photograph of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin on the left shows that women have also been fascinated by scientific instrumentation since before Kulkarni was born. They just haven't always had access to it, unlike the boys.

Read more at:

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2015/05/girlswithtoys.html

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3. The Broader Impact of Broader Impacts

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

For years as a Black woman in theoretical cosmology wondering where the heck the other Black women in theoretical physics were, I thought about what this country was doing to make me the loneliest number of one. There are a bunch of obvious things like economic and environmental racism, mass incarceration, state violence, interpersonal racism and how all of those structural features of our society add up to hold Black people back.

But as a recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF), one of the most prestigious honors granted to an American graduate student in the sciences, I knew also that specific structures had supposedly been put into place that could help mitigate some of these things. For example, 50% of the criteria used to evaluate any NSF proposal fall under the header of Broader Impacts, as in the broader impact to society of the principle investigator’s work.

Now, I’m not naive. I remember that when my officemates and I were working on our GRF applications, a couple bragged about phoning it in on the Broader Impacts criteria. That people didn’t always take them seriously was something I understood from early on. On the other hand, I got the fellowship and none of them did. They almost certainly had better grades, potentially better letters of recommendation and maybe even better scientific proposals than me. So, I reasoned that I did better because I talked about leveraging what I had learned as a working class Black woman to change my field for the better.

Read more at:

https://medium.com/@chanda/the-broader-impact-of-broader-impacts-52e16fd8fe8e

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4. In Science, It Matters That Women Come Last

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

by Emma Pierson

People tell me that, as a female scientist, I need to stand up for myself if I want to succeed: Lean in, close the confidence gap, fight for tenure. Being a woman in science means knowing that the odds are both against you being there in the first place and against you staying there. Some of this is due to bias; women are less likely to be hired by science faculty, to be chosen for mathematical tasks and to have their papers deemed high quality. But there are also other barriers to success. Female scientists spend more time rearing children and work at institutions with fewer resources.

One measure of how female scientists are faring is how many papers they write. Papers are the coin of academic science, like court victories to lawyers or hits to baseball players. A widely read paper could earn a scientist tenure or a grant. Papers map money, power and professional connections, and that means we can use them to map where female scientists are succeeding and where inequality prevails.

To this end, I downloaded and statistically analyzed 938,301 scientific papers from the arXiv, a website where physicists, mathematicians and other scientists often post their papers. I inferred the authors’ gender from their first names, using a names list of 40,000 international names classified by native speakers.1 Women’s representation on the arXiv has increased significantly over the 23 years my data set covers

Read more at:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/in-science-it-matters-that-women-come-last

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5. Being "out" as a #scimom

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

by Meghan Duffy

Something that is very important to me is to be open about being a scientist – a woman scientist, in particular – who has children. The data don’t paint a rosy picture for scientist mothers, and this is in part because of the biases we all have related to women in science (and especially regarding women in science with children). My hope is that, by being open about being a scientist mother, I can do my small part to normalize the idea of women scientists having children.

Read more at:

https://dynamicecology.wordpress.com/2015/05/11/being-out-as-a-scimom

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6. Gazing at the Future: The experiences of male and female astronomy doctoral students in the UK

From: Meredith Hughes [amhughes_at_wesleyan.edu]

An Institute of Physics and Royal Astronomical Society Report

The underrepresentation of women in physics and astronomy is an ongoing concern. This gender imbalance potentially holds back a significant cohort from using their talent and potential in physics.

This report presents the findings of a survey of around 1000 male and female doctoral students in physics and astronomy and their differing experiences, and provides a number of key recommendations for departments, funders and professional societies.

Download the Full Report at:

http://www.iop.org/publications/iop/2015/page_65643.html

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7. Job Opportunities

- Program Director in the division of Astronomical Sciences at the National Science Foundation: four positions explained in a Dear Colleague Letter, here: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2015/ast15001/ast15001.jsp?org=NSF

Program Director, MPS/AST
https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/403688300?org=NSF

Program Director, MPS/AST
https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/403689100?org=NSF

Interdisciplinary Program Director, MPS/AST
https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/403489300?org=NSF

Interdisciplinary Program Director, MPS/AST
https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/403487000?org=NSF

For those interested in increasing excellence and diversity in their organizations, a list of resources and advice is here:

http://www.aas.org/cswa/diversity.html#howtoincrease

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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.

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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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