Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Why We Leave

Reaching to the stars
by Ares Nguyen via flickr
The charge of the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy is to recommend to the AAS Board of Trustees practical measures that the AAS can take to improve the status of women in astronomy and encourage their entry into this field. We define women to include people who identify as female, including trans women, genderqueer women, and non-binary people who are significantly female-identified. As an organization, the AAS supports and promotes increased participation of historically underrepresented groups in astronomy.

The CSWA has existed for almost 42 years. In that time we have seen a growth in women in the field (although the number of men has also increased alongside this). The linked AIP report found that there was no significant attrition of women between career stages in astronomy. However, attrition does occur for people of all identities, especially those who are underrepresented. We all know someone who left the field at some point.

Friday, March 26, 2021

AASWomen Newsletter for March 26, 2021

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of March 26, 2021
eds: Heather Flewelling, Nicolle Zellner, Maria Patterson, Jeremy Bailey, and Alessandra Aloisi

[We hope you all are taking care of yourselves and each other. --eds.]

This week's issues:

1. Women of Arecibo: Allison Smith
2. Crosspost: Inclusive Mentoring: The Mindset of an Effective Mentor
3. Supporting gender equality through understanding intersectionality
4. Diversity is hard to find among the highest paid leaders at elite research universities
5. Upcoming launch of $8.8 billion telescope places women’s leading roles in center focus
6. Women In STEM: Voices From Around The World
7. Women must not be obscured in science’s history
8. Upcoming SHIELD Webinar: Fri April 9th, 2021 2:00 PM EST
9. Meet the unknown female mathematician whose calculations helped discover Pluto
10. Vera Rubin, astronomer extraordinaire — a new biography
11. Job Opportunities
12. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
13. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
14. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Women of Arecibo: Allison Smith

This post marks the launch of Women of Arecibo, a new blog series highlighting the achievements and experiences of women who built their careers around the 305-meter telescope at Arecibo Observatory. In this entry, Allison Smith details the legacy of the observatory, what the fall of the 305-m telescope meant to her, and what comes next. 

written by Allison Smith 

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Arecibo Observatory, and I study the diffuse interstellar medium of our galaxy with the goal of investigating the atomic to molecular transition of gas as well as how our galaxy accretes gas for star formation. I’m thrilled to have a chance to share with the AASWomen community my story and my experience at the observatory. Please note that I’m sharing my personal perspective only (not my employers), but that the impacts of the observatory and the effects of the loss of the 305-m telescope are far reaching. I look forward to (and am honored to be featured alongside!) other women from many different backgrounds in our community sharing their perspectives during this series of featured posts. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

Crosspost: Inclusive Mentoring: The Mindset of an Effective Mentor

By Chandralekha Singh

Mentoring is the process of forming, cultivating, and maintaining relationships that support and advance mentees in their pursuits [1-2]. As physicists, we mentor undergraduate and graduate students in diverse settings: when we teach them in various courses, when we advise students in their research, or when we counsel them about academic and non-academic issues. For example, we give advice on what courses to take, whom to do research with, how to live a balanced life while managing academic and non-academic responsibilities, and how to apply for financial support, scholarships, and jobs.

Friday, March 19, 2021

AASWomen Newsletter for March 19, 2021

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of March 19, 2021
eds: Heather Flewelling, Nicolle Zellner, Maria Patterson, Alessandra Aloisi, and Jeremy Bailin

[We hope you all are taking care of yourselves and each other. Be well! --eds.]

The first four children's chapter books in the She Persisted series are about Harriet Tubman, Claudette Colvin, Sally Ride, and Virginia Apgar. The series is inspired by Chelsea Clinton's children's book series She Persisted. (From Item 6; Credit: Forbes)


This week's issues:

1. Women in Astronomy: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going!

2. Australian chief scientist on creating the right climate for girls and women in STEM

3. Australian Academy of Science awards inaugural Ruby Payne-Scott Medal and other honorifics

4. COVID-19: A Moment for Women in STEM?

5. Sexism, racism, prejudice, and bias: a literature review and synthesis of research surrounding student evaluations of courses and teaching

6. Children’s Book Series She Persisted Highlights Women In History From Harriet Tubman And Sally Ride To Ruby Bridges And Helen Keller

7. An Interview With Dr. Shirley Jackson, The Ultimate Role Model For Women In Science

8. Job Opportunities

9. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

11. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

An online version of this newsletter will be available at http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/ at 3:00 PM ET every Friday.

Friday, March 12, 2021

AASWomen Newsletter for March 12, 2021

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of March 12, 2021

eds: Heather Flewelling, Nicolle Zellner, Maria Patterson, Alessandra Aloisi, and Jeremy Bailin

[We hope you all are taking care of yourselves and each other. Be well! --eds.]

This week's issues:
Item #6. Credit: womeninmotionmovie.com

1. Cross-post: Beyond Marie Curie: The women in science history we don't talk about

2. International Women's Day I: Profiles of women making current contributions to astronomy

3. International Women's Day II: Profiles of women who have made historical contributions to astronomy

4. Scientists want virtual meetings to stay after the COVID pandemic

5. Women in Aerospace: Stories from the Smithsonian Collection

6. From sci-fi to science: Film presentation shows how Nichelle Nichols changed the face of space

7. Physics camp has proven benefits for high school girls

8. Empowering women leads to better science, research and innovation

9. Making it Happen: Women in STEM Shorts Program at Athena Film Festival

10. Where Women Scientists Are the Majority

11. New DPS Mid-career Prize: The Claudia J. Alexander Prize

12. Physicist Chanda Prescod-Weinstein spans the whitewashed history of astronomy in her new book, ‘The Disordered Cosmos.’

13. Data shows women making gains in STEM workforce but still underrepresented

14. Job Opportunities

15. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

16. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

17. Access to Past Issues

An online version of this newsletter will be available at http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/ at 3:00 PM ET every Friday.

International Women's Day II: Profiles of women who have made historical contributions to astronomy

 In celebration of International Women's Day on March 8, 2021, there have been a number of recent profiles of women who have made historical contributions to astronomy and space science.


AWIS celebrates the many achievements of women scientists

The Association for Women in Science celebrates the achievements of many women scientists, including astronomer Maria Mitchell, astronaut Mae Jemison, and mathematician Katherine Johnson.


Three women from our past who paved the way for women in science today

"It wasn’t that long ago that women had to fight for a spot on the team, a turn at a telescope, or even just to walk in the door. Today, the [Carnegie Science] Earth and Planets Laboratory has 21 female scientists on campus including staff scientists, postdocs, and scientific support staff working to enhance our understanding of the world around us. A lot has changed since the first woman joined our campus, but there is still a lot of work to be done to promote diversity and equality on campus and across the sciences.

In this article, we highlight the work of three Earth and Planets Laboratory (previously Department of Terrestrial Magnetism and Geophysical Laboratory) scientists who paved the way."


Pluto crater named for female engineer who helped bring the planet into focus

"When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft came to within 7,800 miles (12,550 kilometers) of Pluto in July 2015, aerospace engineer Lisa Hardaway saw the fruits of more than a decade of her labor come into sharp focus. In a few brief seconds, the Ralph imager and spectrometer, a scientific instrument onboard the spacecraft, collected color images and compositional maps that would soon ripple around the globe, inspiring awe and fascination of the farthest body then explored by humankind.

Sadly, Hardaway passed away almost two years after those iconic moments, in January 2017, at the age of 50."

International Women's Day I: Profiles of women making current contributions to astronomy

In celebration of International Women's Day on March 8, 2021, there have been a number of recent profiles of women making current contributions to astronomy, astrophysics, and space science.


Dr Rohini Godbole Talks About Her Journey in Particle Physics, Women in Science and More
By Mrigakshi Dixit

"Dr Rohini M Godbole, a renowned particle physicist from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, has proved her mettle in the field of science not just in India but across the globe. Dr Rohini, who hails from Pune, Maharashtra, started her scientific career way back in 1969 when even a journey from Pune to Delhi was a challenge for a girl. Despite all odds, her passion and curiosity kept her going. Today, in addition to being a popular scientist, she is also a science communicator, an author and an avid supporter of women in science.

Dr Rohini’s work mainly focuses on the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics, a theory that describes the fundamental forces in the universe. For her valuable work, Dr Rohini was recently felicitated with the prestigious Ordre National Du Merite or National Order of Merit—among the highest distinctions of France. Moreover, she has also been bestowed with the Padma Shri Award by the Government of India in 2019.

On the occasion of International Women Day, we spoke to Dr Rohini to know about her journey in science, a career in particle physics, her famous book Lilavati’s daughter and her overall experience as a leading woman scientist in the world."


Why astrophysicist Prajval Shastri believes that gender discrimination must not be perpetuated at institutions by teachers
By Rashmi Patil

"Prajval Shastri, an astrophysicist speaks about gender bias in the academic institutions especially in the field of Science and her love for research, why she pursued astrophysics and much more."


These women are  shaping the future of African space exploration
By Samantha Bresnahan
 

Interviews with four African women leaders in astronomy and space exploration: Pontsho Maruping, deputy managing director of the South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, Jessie Ndaba, aerospace engineer and co-founder of the satellite startup Astrofica, Adriana Marais, physicist and astronaut candidate, and Ruvimbo Samanga, space lawyer and Zimbabwean representative on the Space Generation Advisory Council.


Françoise Combes: gazing at the stars and working to reverse science stereotypes
By Dhananjay Khadilkar

"The French astrophysicist Professor Françoise Combes was recently conferred with two prestigious honours. The 68-year-old was awarded the CNRS Gold Medal for 2020 while, in February, she was named as one of the five laureates of the L’Oréal-Unesco Women In Science Award for 2021.

During her career, Professor Combes has made several significant contributions to astrophysics, including analysing the dynamics of galaxies and the discovery of molecules in the interstellar medium. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, RFI’s Dhananjay Khadilkar spoke to Professor Combes about her research and the challenges women face while pursuing a scientific career."


Two scientists reflect on what they learnt on historic Antarctic voyages designed to transform them into leaders

UNSW astrophysicist Sarah Brough and marine biologist Steph Gardner reflect on their experience on the Homework Bound leadership program, a 10-year project that aims to annually lead an international group of female scientists on an Antarctic journey to transform them into leaders that will make meaningful change.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Cross-post: Beyond Marie Curie: The women in science history we don’t talk about

By Sarah Rigby for BBC Science Focus

Ancient Roman carving of a midwife via Wikimedia Commons
Beyond the exceptional talents of Marie Curie, Rosalind Franklin and Ada Lovelace, it’d be easy to think that women didn’t used to participate in science. But as science historians Leila McNeill and Anna Reser reveal to Sara Rigby, women have contributed to our understanding of the world, stretching all the way back to antiquity.

Many women in science history seem to have done a lot of work in astronomy. Yet it often seems to be women who were the wives or sisters of prominent astronomers. Why is that?

AR: I would say that for most of recorded history, that’s the only way that women had to get into those fields. So if we’re talking about someone like Caroline Herschel, her brother William was an astronomer. He needed a housekeeper, so he brought Caroline to England to work in his house, and he just enlisted her to be his assistant, kind of without her permission.

William had his own observatory at their house in Bath. It is very expensive, to buy telescopes and to maintain them. Obviously, the Herschels were an upper-middle-class or upper-class family. They had plenty of family wealth. But that’s not something that the women in the family would have had independent access to. So in order for her to have a space to work in, she worked in William’s observatory.

In order for women to participate in, or at least get close to these formalised and institutionalised spaces for science, usually they would have to do it through a man who was connected to it. Often that would be the husband, or in Caroline’s case, it’s your brother.

Read more or listen to the interview at

https://www.sciencefocus.com/science/beyond-marie-curie-the-women-in-science-history-we-dont-talk-about/

Friday, March 5, 2021

AASWomen Newsletter for March 5, 2021

AAS Committee on the Status of Women AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of March 05, 2021

eds: Heather Flewelling, Nicolle Zellner, Maria Patterson, Alessandra Aloisi, and Jeremy Bailin

[We hope you all are taking care of yourselves and each other. Be well! --eds.]

Image credit: NASA (image id: PIA09113)

This week's issues:

1. Meet the Women in Astronomy Blog Team!

2. Celebrating Indigenous Women in Physics

3. Upcoming SHIELD Webinar: Fri March. 12th, 2021 2:00 PM EST

4. Major physics society won’t meet in cities with racist policing record

5. AAS CSMA Launches Micro-Grants Program

6. Science diversified: Queer perspectives on research

7. Lack of diversity in science

8. Eight women at the forefront of the world’s COVID-19 response

9. Job Opportunities

10. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter

11. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter

12. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

An online version of this newsletter will be available at http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/ at 3:00 PM ET every Friday.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Meet the Women in Astronomy Blog Team!

As Blogger-in-Chief, I'm excited to introduce you all to the new members of the Women in Astronomy Blog team. These four bloggers are going to contribute their unique perspectives to the blog and I can't wait for you to see what they bring to the table.

They will be working on their own projects as well as working with anyone in the astronomical community who is interested in submitting a blog post. They all have experience writing and editing in different formats and are ready to help you share your stories and experiences. If you'd like to pitch a blog post, please email wia-blog_at_lists.aas.org and we'll work with you.

Read on to get to know the new team!

--Jo