AAS Committee on the Status of Women 
Issue of April 1, 2011	
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery

This week's issues:

1. Senior Women: Physics & Astronomy Departments

2. Sexual Harassment: A Call to Shun 

3. The Scientific Gender Gap

4. The Status of MIT Women Faculty in Science and Engineering 

5. A First Anniversary: Motherhood and Astrophysics

6. Chronicle Articles 

7. Job Announcements

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

1. Senior Women: Physics & Astronomy Departments
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

CSWA would like to expand their recent study of Senior Women in Astronomy
departments to include those in Physics & Astronomy departments. At this time we
are only considering departments in the US with a PhD program. 

I need your help to compile these data. If you work in a Physics & Astronomy
department (in the US with a PhD program), could you please send me a list of
senior faculty (tenured professors only) with a designation for male or female?
For any joint appointments, I would also need the fractional commitment of that
individual to the Physics & Astronomy department. 

These data should be for the entire department, not just the astronomy component
of the department. Note: assistant professors, research professors, junior
members, part-time instructors, soft-money researchers, postdocs, emeritus
faculty, etc. should NOT be included in this list. 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions and comments.

2. Sexual Harassment: A Call to Shun 
From: Caty Pilachowski [catyp_at_astro.indiana.edu]

There is a relevant post by Scott Jaschik in the March 30 issue of "Inside
Higher Ed" about sexual harassment in philosophy:

Let's say there is a scholar in your field who is known to harass women. Maybe
you witnessed an incident. Maybe you heard from friends who were his victims.
Maybe you heard from friends of friends. The person is known (among women at
least) as someone to avoid, but he continues on in a professorship at a top
university, serving on influential editorial boards, turning up on the programs
of all the right conferences. 

If the man has never been convicted by a judicial body or punished by a
university (at least not that you know of), is this just a case of "innocent
until proven guilty"? Or does this suggest disciplinary negligence -- or
tolerance of serial harassment?

That is the question being debated this week by philosophers as a series of
blogs and websites have responded to an online project in which women in
philosophy have shared stories of the bias and harassment they have experienced.
The stories are anonymous, but the philosophers who have taken up the cause say
that the accounts ring true, and that they personally know of many similar
cases. And a number of philosophers are now calling for some form of shunning to
take place -- for scholars to take a stand by refusing to interact with or honor
those of their colleagues who have reputations for being harassers. These
philosophers charge not only that harassment is widespread, but that departments
and colleges have looked the other way, and that the problem includes some of
the top figures in the field today.

To read more:


3. The Scientific Gender Gap
From: Doug Duncan [dduncan_at_colorado.edu]

Here's an article by Jonah Lehrer which appeared in the March 7 issue of Wired:

It seems that one has to say something silly and controversial (ala Larry
Summers) in order to draw attention to the problem of females in math and
science. And that's a shame, because the gender discrepancy remains a very
serious societal problem. According to the latest statistics from the NSF, women
represent approximately 20% of the math and science faculty at top research
universities. This discrepancy is terrible for science, which is missing out on
a large pool of potential talent. It's bad for women, who must struggle to enter
an important sector. Most distressingly, it's a problem that remains stubbornly
in place: Although the gender gap in math and science performance has shrunk
substantially (and even been reversed on some tests), girls and women still feel
less positively toward math and science than their male peers. Despite the fact
that women have earned slightly more science and engineering bachelor degrees
than men since 2000, they remain far less interested in pursuing these
disciplines as careers.

A new paper by social psychologists at the University of Amherst, and published
in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, offers a novel explanation
for this seemingly intractable gender gap. I'm most interested in their
longitudinal field experiment which involved the careful observation of an
actual calculus class taught by male and female professors. Here's Shankar
Vedantam, in Slate, describing their results:

"They measured, for instance, how often each student responded to questions posed
by professors to the classroom as a whole. At the start of the semester, 11
percent of the female students attempted to answer questions posed to the entire
class when the professor was male, and 7 percent of the female students
attempted to answer questions posed to the entire class when the professor was
female. By the end of the semester, the number of female students who attempted
to answer questions posed by a male professor had not changed significantly:
Only 7 percent of the women tried to answer such questions. But when classes
were taught by a woman, the percentage of female students who attempted to
answer questions by the semester's end rose to 46."

To read more:


4. The Status of MIT Women Faculty in Science and Engineering 
From: Edmund Bertschinger_at_women_in_astronomy_blog

MIT has just released an important new report, A Report on the Status of Women
Faculty in the Schools of Science and Engineering at MIT, 2011. This report,
prepared in association with the upcoming MIT150 celebration and the Symposium
"Leaders in Science and Engineering: The Women of MIT", is a sequel to the famous
1999 MIT Report on Women Faculty in Science and the 2002 report of the Women
Faculty in Engineering. The new report shows that there has been remarkable
progress for women faculty in science and engineering at MIT since the previous
studies but that issues remain that will require the continued efforts of the
central administration, working collaboratively with women faculty.

The report shows that great progress has been made in addressing the
discrimination, bias, and inequities in leadership opportunities that existed a
decade ago. I'm heartened by the facts that the numbers of women faculty members
in science and engineering have almost doubled in a decade, that women now
occupy many leadership positions, and that most women faculty view MIT as an
excellent place to work and a friendlier and more supportive place than is
perceived from the outside. Some of the senior faculty are amazed by these
improvements. For me, MIT's success over the last decade indicates a good
prognosis for further progress towards full gender equity, if we remain focused
on continuing improvements.

To read more:


5. A First Anniversary: Motherhood and Astrophysics
From: AnnH_at_women_in_astronomy_blog

One year ago today I was in the hospital awaiting the arrival of my daughter. At
this point I was realizing the induction might not go as quickly as we hoped. It
lasted 40 hours and failed so I had a C-section. Then I struggled to feed my
daughter initially. She became dehydrated, losing 11% of her body weight,
dipping to below 5 pounds, in the first 2 days. Without any milk yet, I was
forced to feed her a tiny amount of formula, for which I have no regrets as she
really needed it. Feeding my daughter those few spoonfuls of formula was the
first on a long list of things I thought I would never do as a parent. 

My research area is the study of X-ray binary populations in galaxies. I'm a
tenured astrophysicist at NASA and have been involved with a variety of NASA
missions. As you might imagine, I was not thinking about X-ray binaries, X-ray
instruments on NASA missions or anything like that during the time described
above. Maternity leave really isn't like any other leave I have ever taken. One
of my senior female colleagues told me to be gentle with myself and now I can
see what she meant. It took some months for me to return to any semblance of the
productivity I had before and to enjoy my work again like I did before.

To read more:

6. Chronicle Articles 
From: Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

Here is an article from the March 27 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education
on the theme of one women not being heard by her male colleagues called "No
Girls Aloud"


Here is an article from the March 24 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education
with interesting advice on "Women Seeking to Advance in Academe." Advice is:

-Be on powerful committees that control money.
-Avoid petty disputes.
-Always have the last word.


7. Job Announcements

[The AASWOMEN newsletter has adopted a simplified format for job ads. We will no
longer be posting the entire ad, but rather a 1-line description of the position
and a web site - Eds.]

Visiting Assistant Professors in Physics at Colgate University:


Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Physics at Towson University:


8. How to Submit

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10. Access to Past Issues


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End of AASWList Digest, Vol 50, Issue 1