Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Intersection of Science and Politics -- Women Running for Office (#Witches in STEM)

By Angela Speck

All elections are important, but the impending mid-terms are especially so. All over the world there have been rightward swings in governments. And these new governments potentially impact so many groups that are not in the majority: not majority ethnicity/race, not male, not heterosexual, not cisgender, and so on. The intersection of “conservative” social policies with a tendency toward rejecting science means that we (Women Scientists) are feeling beleaguered (along with many other groups).

Many people, especially those in marginalized groups, were more than a little disappointed by the results of the 2016 US general election. Immediately after the presidential inauguration there were marches across the US in support of women’s rights. A few months later another series of demonstrations took place, this time in support of science.  While women are not the only group to feel embattled by the actions of the present administration, this blog is about women. Women and science in fact. And women in science have stepped up like never before to try and take control and be a part of how this country runs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

How Professional Societies are Dealing with Harassment

In a September Science editorial, Margaret Hamburg, Susan Hockfield and Steven Chu, who all hold leadership roles in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), wrote that it's time for change: "The scientific community must act with urgency to create an inclusive organizational culture and professional standards of behavior that will allow all of its members to reach their full potential."

Indeed, professional societies and organizations around the United States are taking a stand to address harassment in effective ways. Here are just a few examples of what organizations are doing:

Friday, October 19, 2018

AASWomen Newsletter for October 19, 2018

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
October 19, 2018
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, JoEllen McBride, and Ale Aloisi (guest ed.)

This week's issues:

1. A personal recommendation for the AAS to collect data to determine participation of underrepresented groups
2. Australia gets Women in STEM Ambassador in astrophysicist professor
3. Sarah Stewart Receives MacArthur "Genius Grant"
4. Breakthrough Prize Honors Early Career Astronomers
5. 2019 ASU Exploration Postdoctoral Fellowship
6. Astronomy is losing women three times faster than men
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 of the AASWomen Newsletter


Thursday, October 18, 2018

A personal recommendation for the AAS to collect data to determine participation of underrepresented groups

By members of the DPS Professional Culture and Climate Subcommittee

In order to determine how new policies affect the equitable participation of astronomers from all backgrounds, we propose that the AAS collect detailed demographic information on its members and use these data to understand the barriers for members of underrepresented groups. While the AAS workforce surveys do ask demographic information (Workforce Survey of 2016 US AAS Members Summary Results), they can not easily be compared to award or author information in the way a member database could. As shown below, collection of demographic data by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) has enabled studies addressing gender disparities in geosciences. Furthermore, the AGU has enacted policy changes based on these findings. Collection of demographic data by AAS would enable determination of areas that are lacking in gender representation, in addition to areas that are lacking in representation with respect to persons with disabilities, underrepresented minorities, etc. This would enable AAS to implement policy changes to enable equitable participation of astronomers from all backgrounds and to test if the new policies are effective.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Our Current Political Climate and the Confirmation Process: the Community Reacts

By Sarah Tuttle

The last few weeks have been difficult for many folks as a highly politicized confirmation process played out on Capitol Hill. Issues around gender and race swirled barely below the surface as we watched echoes of the past, with Anita Hill reminding us about how we were in some ways reenacting recent history (and in other ways dancing around it). For many of us, this pushed a lot of buttons and renewed memories of trauma even outside of the explicit scope of Dr. Blasey Ford’s Senate testimony – from alcoholic family members, to abusive partners, to harassment or assault at school and work.

It is a lot to carry.

I’ve collected a small number of responses from women throughout our field to give us some space to reflect, to be together in community even when we are many miles apart, and to acknowledge that sometimes the hardest part of our work isn’t the intellectual challenges of our research but existing in a world that resists making room for us to exist.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Donna Strickland and Frances Arnold win Nobel Prizes

The winners of the Nobel Prizes were announced this week and two women, Donna Strickland and Frances Arnold, have been honored for their extraordinary contributions to the sciences.

On Tuesday, Donna Strickland became the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. She's the first woman to win the prize in 55 years.

Here are a select number of articles about Dr. Strickland's win: