Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 09:15:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: CSWA Newsletter of 2/10/99

            AAS Committee on the Status of Women
     weekly issues of  2/10/99, ed. by Priscilla Benson
***  send email and addresses to  ***

This week's issues:
1.  Responses to lack of women applicants
2.  Job at U. Toronto

1.  Responses to lack of women applicants
From: Bernadette Rodgers

Kathryn Mead writes:
> Assuming some level of bias against women...
I find this to be a rash and self-debilitating assumption.  
Unless the Institute is somehow known for this kind of bias 
(which I believe is what the original writer from UMass was 
trying to determine), it certainly is not a safe or even 
reasonable assumption.

If anything, I believe women now often enjoy a slight positive 
"gender bias" due to the fact that many Departments are actively 
trying to increase their female Astronomy faculty (a necessary 
and long overdue process).

Bernadette Rodgers

From: Stupendous Man

Kathryn Mead speculated on reasons that the fraction of female 
applicants for jobs in astronomy might decline as the rank of the 
job increases.  I agree with some of her reasons.

  At the risk of appearing provocative, let me take one of her 
explanations and ask a followup.  She said:

> Perhaps by the time a woman is in her 30's (when she is 
> ready to apply for a permanent position) she realizes that 
> it is no longer worth it to carry the baggage that goes with 
> the joy of astronomy. I think women spend more time than men 
> making these sorts of evaluations. Because of different 
> societal expectations, the woman feels freer to leave 
> astronomy and pursue a career which has less pressure and 
> allows for more life-satisfaction. Thus, maybe there are 
> fewer women are in the permanent-job applicant pool.

  Now, Kathryn is speculating, and I, too, am speculating when I 
agree that this may be the reasoning behind the decisions made by 
_a few_ of the astronomers in the job pool.

  The provocative question: _given_ the state of jobs in
academia today, is it a fact to be deplored that some --
perhaps many -- people decide not to continue the race
for tenure?  I contend that it may not be.  When I speak
to students here at RIT, I tell them (male and female alike), "If 
you pursue a career in astronomy, you will

        - need to work very hard as an undergrad
        - need to spend 4-7 years in grad school
        - need to accept a series of low-paying post-docs
        - probably have to move long distances several times
        - have to convince a tenure committee to keep you
And so," I conclude, "the chances are fairly good that you will 
find yourself in limbo at age 35 or so, very likely having 
postponed having children or buying a house."

  Frankly, I think that _if_ my description is accurate, then the 
pursuit of a tenure-track position in astronomy is NOT something 
to be recommended.

  Kathryn Mead states that some women may feel more free to leave 
this race, once they've entered it, than some men. I agree with 
this sentiment.  In fact, given the rather dim prospects of 
ANYONE getting a tenured position, a reasonable observer might 
conclude that people who leave the process earlier might be 
characterized as "more rational" than those who wait until the 
(bitter) end.

  There is, of course, a realm of discussion on the topic "Is the 
current state of academic jobs in astronomy a Good Thing?" One 
could argue that the current job-seeking process needs to be 
changed.  I would join that discussion with great interest. But, 
given the current situation, I think that Kathryn's point is 
valid: it is GOOD for many people (in the sense that it increases 
their net, long-term happiness) to leave the rat race.

                               Michael Richmond

2.  Job at U. Toronto
From: Library



The Department of Astronomy expects to offer a one year term 
teaching appointment at the rank of Tutor or Lecturer beginning 
July 1,1999. The successful applicant will teach courses in 
astronomy to undergraduate students. There will be opportunities 
for acquiring experience in course curriculum development using 
modern computer-based tools. Applicants must have a graduate 
degree in astronomy, preferably a PhD, and should have experience 
in teaching at the undergraduate level, for example as  a 
teaching assistant. Salary will be commensurate with 
qualifications and experience.

Applications, together with the names of three references, should 
be sent before March 1, 1999 to:

			Dr. E.R. Seaquist
			Department of Astronomy	
			University of Toronto
			Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H8

In accordance with Canadian Immigration requirements, this 
advertisement is directed toward Canadian citizens and permanent 
residents of Canada.  The University of Toronto is committed to 
employment equity and encourages applications from all qualified 
individuals, including women, members of visible minorities, 
aboriginal persons, and persons with disabilities.

End of CSWA Newsletter of 2/10/99