Thursday, March 28, 2019

Repost: Facing the Future: The CSWA seeks your input on our community needs in the 2020s!

Editor's Note: We are reposting this announcement as we get closer to the April 23 survey deadline. The CSWA is interested to hear from our community what activities should be prioritized as we move into the 2020s. Please respond and remember to share the survey with your colleagues.

The survey can be found here:

From the CSWA

During 2018 the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA) began an effort to gather information about what are seen by our communities as the areas of key importance beyond scientific research that the AAS, its divisions, and its relevant committees (including the CSWA itself) should focus on as we move into the 2020s.  The goal is to use this information to (1) develop one or more white papers that will be submitted to the Decadal Survey as a part of the call for papers on an activity, project, or state of the profession consideration and to (2) develop a new strategic plan for the CSWA for the 2020s.

Our strategy has been to first identify the key areas and potential activities that could be undertaken in these areas by the AAS, its divisions, or relevant committees. We have taken all the input we have received so far and created a survey based on that information.  Now we need you, the members of the communities the AAS and its divisions serve, to tell us which of the many wonderful activities and ideas that have been brought to our attention that you think will have the most impact and/or are the most important to focus on! (And tell us about anything we’ve missed!)  The survey is organized around 4 key areas: Harassment and Bullying; Creating Inclusive Environments; Professional Development, Hiring, and Retention; and Professional Ethics, and also provides an opportunity to provide additional feedback and suggestions.  The more input we have from you, the better we can plan to advocate for you and serve you!  So please take a few minutes to contribute your input – we can’t do it without you!  

The survey is completely confidential and anonymous– we are not gathering any personally identifiable information, nor are we capturing any information on who is accessing the survey. We estimate it will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete the evaluation of the activities in the four subtopics. There are additional open-ended questions and room for suggestions that are optional to address in as much or as little detail as the respondent wishes. The survey will be open until Tuesday, April 23, 2019.  It can be accessed at:

We look forward to hearing from you! 

Friday, March 22, 2019

AASWOMEN Newsletter for March 22, 2019

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of March 22, 2019
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, JoEllen McBride, and Alessandra Aloisi (guest ed.)

Today's guest editor is Alessandra Aloisi. Alessandra studies stars and gas in nearby star-forming galaxies with UV/optical/NIR imaging and UV/optical spectroscopy to infer their chemical and evolutionary state. She received her PhD from Bologna University (Italy) in 1999. She then landed in the US and launched her career as postdoc at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), and as associate research scientist at Johns Hopkins University. Alessandra joined the research staff at STScI in 2003, working first for the European Space Agency (ESA) and transferring to a position with the Association of the Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) in 2009. At STScI, Alessandra started as instrument scientist for the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope, and became the lead for the team responsible for the calibration, operations, and user support of these spectrographs just before the Hubble Servicing Mission 4. She then moved to be the Deputy Division Head of the Operations & Engineering Division, and is now the Head of the Science Mission Office where she oversees the science career and infrastructure of STScI as well as HST and JWST science policies.

This week's issues:

1. Women in Observatory Blog

2. The Case for Disciplining Faculty Harassers

3. Who invented the dishwasher, windshield wiper, caller ID? Women created these 50 inventions.

4. First person on Mars is likely to be a woman, NASA says

5. This Northern Va. student won the $250,000 prize in a top science competition

6. 7 books about women’s space history for women’s history month

7. The Woman who knows everything about the Universe

8. U.S. Mathematician Becomes First Woman To Win Abel Prize, 'Math's Nobel'

9. High-pressure research and a return to China: meet Haiyan Zheng

10. Study: U.S. gives less early-career research funding to women

11. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

12. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

13. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Women in Observatory Blog

By Pascale Hibon
Image Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), C. Padilla

Although there are already one or more Women in Astronomy groups, life in observatories has different challenges, very specific to the exceptional character of the job: traveling for several days/weeks to remote places, working a night with only male colleagues/peers. The objectives of this blog are to collect, inform and support women experiencing life in Astronomical Observatories. Several women astronomers from worldwide observatories have already accepted to share their experience and different WIO profiles are published.

You can find the blog at:

If you wish to participate to this blog and/or if you want more information:

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Astro2020 APC Notice of Intent due March 20, take CSWA Survey for 2020s Priorities

By Aparna Venkatesan

As a reminder, Astro2020: Decadal Survey of Astronomy and Astrophysics has some deadlines coming up very soon! The science white papers were due March 11, and the Notice of Intent for the APC (activity, project, of state of the profession consideration) category is due March 20.

Please see the National Academy of Sciences site for Astro2020:

The NOI form for the APC white papers is here:

NOIs can be targeted and brief. To the best of our knowledge, white papers will be accepted in July without a submitted NOI, but submitting an NOI will help the decadal survey committees and working groups gauge and plan for the topics and anticipated volume of submissions.

Full APC papers can be 5-10 pages long and have a tentative due date of July 1. The NAS site states that the exact format will be announced soon.

We encourage our community members to strongly consider having their voices and priorities for the next decade heard through white paper submissions, especially our junior, female and/or underrepresented minority professionals and those served by AAS diversity committees. Please do suggest actionable recommendations in the white paper(s) you submit, as this would be most useful for funding agencies and institutions.

For slides with an overview of the nature and process of the decadal survey from Dara Norman, please see here

And last - please take the CSWA survey on our community needs in the 2020s ( This will help the CSWA develop one or more white papers for Astro2020 and create a new strategic plan for the 2020s for CSWA.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

More Women are Earning Doctorates in Science, Engineering, and Health But There’s Still Work To Do

This graph shows the fraction of U.S. doctoral degrees awarded
to women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
(STEM) fields. The data include both U.S. citizens/residents and
temporary residents. Source: IPEDS and APS.
By Nicolle Zellner and JoEllen McBride

The National Science Foundation released a report this month with the headline “Number of Women with U.S. Doctorates in Science, Engineering, or Health Employed in the United States More Than Doubles since 1997.” The editors of the AASWOMEN Newsletter decided to take a closer look at the numbers and unpack this title to see where women stand in the science, engineering, or health (SEH) doctorate landscape. The short answer: employed women with PhDs are generally still in the minority.

Table 2 of the article reports the data by “broad occupation and sex”. In this table, the actual numbers of “employed U.S.-trained SEH doctorate holders residing in the United States” in both 1997 and 2017 are compared to each other. In short, the percentage of all female PhDs employed in science and engineering (S&E) occupations increased by 10.8% between 1997 and 2017.
  • Females with PhDs in biological, agricultural and other life sciences showing the greatest gain (14%).
  • Females with PhDs employed in the physical and related sciences rose by 10.7%.
  • Females with PhDs employed as computer scientists saw the smallest gain (4%).
Other occupations tell a more promising story. The percentage of employed females with PhDs in S&E related occupations (e.g., health-related occupations, S&E managers, S&E pre-college teachers, and S&E technicians and technologists) rose by 16.5%, with social scientists close behind (16.4%). The percentage of those with PhDs employed as psychologists rose by 12.5%, and women now make up almost 60% of all psychologists, outnumbering the men. According to the article, “female early career doctorate holders were more likely than their comparison group of men to report professional services (e.g., health care, counseling, financial services, legal services) as their primary work activity (12% versus 6%, [Table 4]). Some of these differences in primary work activities between men and women, regardless of career stage, may be associated with differences in their broad occupational categories and sectors of employment.”

Table 4, which shows primary work activities, is also interesting. Women report that they are employed in about one-third of all research and development work in 2017, compared to just one-fifth in 1997. Women are also gaining in the areas of teaching: Men used to hold more teaching positions than women, and the numbers are closer now.  Whether or not this translates to tenure-track positions is unknown, but unlikely. According to data compiled by the Chronicle of Higher Education on faculty pay in 2017, women still make up a majority of assistant professors, instructors, and lecturers. Overall, between 1998 and 2016 the number of full-time faculty at postsecondary institutions increased by 38% while the number of part-time faculty increased by 74% between 1998 and 2011, then decreased by 4% between 2011 and 2016. Between 1975 and 2011, part-time faculty went from being 30% of faculty to 51% while full-time tenure and tenure-track faculty saw a 16% and 11% decrease over the same time. A 2009 survey by the National Center for Education Statistics reported that women make up 51% of all adjunct faculty, while a smaller survey (N~20,000) conducted by an adjunct group called the Coalition on the Academic Workforce put the proportion of female adjunct faculty at closer to 61%. So not only are institutions relying more heavily on part-time faculty, it’s possible that women are also more likely to be given those part-time positions.

Despite the gains in S&E PhD employment for women, significant as they are, the percentage of those with PhDs employed in non-S&E occupations rose by 17.5%, more than all of the S&E occupations, related or actual.

We recognize that an increase in the number of women with SEH doctorates employed in the U.S. is progress, but that doesn’t mean our work is done. Women still do not hold as many management positions as men and they make up a larger portion of part-time and non-tenured populations. A shift in culture is necessary to make places of employment more welcoming and supportive of working women including, but not limited to better parental leave policies, changing the assumption that duties requiring “soft skills” are better handled by women, institutions taking steps to eliminate bias in their hiring process, and promoting women to more senior positions. The APS also showed that although the number of women earning doctorates in the sciences was steadily increasing between 1975 and 2009, its leveled off since. We hope that these numbers will encourage institutions to continue to work towards equity and inclusivity until the barriers that prevent women and people diverse in gender, race, sexuality, and ability from making their contributions to SEH fields.

The AASWomen Editors thank Rick Fienberg, AAS Press Officer, for bringing this article to our attention.

Friday, March 1, 2019

AASWomen Newsletter for March 1, 2019

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
March 1, 2019
eds: Nicolle Zellner, Heather Flewelling, Maria Patterson, and JoEllen McBride

This week's issues:  

1. Does your conference spark joy? Two days at Women in Space 2019 
2. NASA Renames Facility to Honor 'Hidden Figures' Subject Katherine Johnson
3. Announcing the 11th Annual Susan Niebur WiPS Networking Event – LPSC 2019 
4. Conferences on General Relativity, Gravitation, and Gravitational Waves
5. Deaf Students Feel the Universe’s Vibrations in New Workshop
6. When Pioneers Disappear from History 
The Tower of the Moon and the Stars,
built by Queen Sonduk (632 CE).
Image by Gabriella Bernardi.
7. How some men are challenging gender inequity in the lab
8. 18 Children's Books About Female Scientists, Because STEM-inism Is The Future
9.  The unforgotten sisters: Sonduk, the astronomer queen
10. Job Opportunities   
11. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
12. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
13. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter