Date: Wed, 02 Feb 2000 16:12:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject: CSWA Newsletter of 2/2/2000

            AAS Committee on the Status of Women
    weekly issues of  2/ 2/2000, ed. by Priscilla Benson
***  send email and addresses to  ***

This week's issues:
1.  Minority Scholarship Deadline Extended
2. Voices - Girls in Science, Math, and Technology
3. Why So Few Women?

1. Minority Scholarship Deadline Extended
From: "Wright, James P."
Forwarded from: Joan M. Frye []

We have extended the deadline for the APS Corporate 
Sponsored Scholarships for Minority Undergraduate Students 
who Major in Physics to February 11, 2000.  Any Black, 
Hispanic, or Native American US citizen who is majoring
Or planning to major in physics and who is a high school 
senior, college freshman or sophomore is eligible to apply.  
If you know of any students who are eligible for this 
scholarship, please have them either dowload the necessary 
forms at(, or 
send me their US postal address and I will mail them an 
application.  We can also fax applications to students or 
 The following materials are required for a completed 
 1. A completed application form and essays
 2. Two references (one must be from a science or math 
 3. Current, official high school transcripts for high 
school students and college freshmen.  Current official 
college transcripts for college freshmen and sophomores.
 4. Academic aptitude test scores for all new applicants
 APS SAT code is 0634 and ACT code is 2675.
 For more information or if you have questions, please call 
or email me.
 Arlene Modeste Knowles
 Scholarship Administrator
 Outreach Programs Administrator
 Education & Outreach
 American Physical Society
 One Physics Ellipse
 College Park, MD 20740
 301-209-0865 (fax)
2. Voices - Girls in Science, Math, and Technology

From Netsurfer Science 03.02:

Voices - Girls in Science, Math, and Technology

     Voices is a three-year program in West Virginia
designed to encourage and help girls do well in science,
mathematics, and technology. Three urban and three rural 
schools participated in the first year of the program,
and another one of the program's goals is to
determine if science, mathematics, and technology should be
taught differently in rural and urban areas because of the 
different perspectives students may bring to the classroom 
might bring to the classroom. In the first and second years 
of the program, the girls participate in workshops that put
science and math in an Appalachian context. For example, one 
workshop focused in the chemistry of folk medicine, another 
on the mathematics of quilt patterns, and another on food 
preservation. Maybe you're not an Appalachian parent or 
teacher, but you may find some ideas at Voices to help your
daughter(s) take an interest in science and math.

-Liz Bryson, CFHT librarian

3. Why So Few Women?
From: (Megan Donahue)

I've read "Pythagoras' Trousers" and found it screamingly 
funny, particularly the first and the last chapters. In 
fact, the image that formed in my mind was so intense I had 
to draw it as a  cartoon: a big muscle guy with a reverse 
collar, with a brawny foot on the planet Earth (with Earthly 
Concerns on it), crushing an atom with one fist and reaching 
out and grasping The Ultimate  Power of the Universe with 
the other. Title: "The Self-Image of a  Male Physicist?"

I'm not a great artist, but I did a mighty fine job. :)

I didn't agree with everything Wertheim wrote. Her middle  
chapters were an interesting history of science, but not  
compelling proof of her thesis. Her energy was mainly 
powered by her negative experience as a physicist. However, 
I think she makes some extremely relevant points, and some 
of the behavior patterns and culture we see (particularly in 
academics, not so much in industry) reflect the common roots 
of academia and  the Church. The reason I was so entertained 
by this thesis was all the flashbulbs that went off in my 
head: my background is in very conservative Catholicism, 12 
years of Catholic education, and I think there's a lot to 
what she says. I see it everywhere in the system.

On the other hand, I don't think it's the complete 

In my experience with working with high school girls in the 
Women's Science Forum, I was struck but the distaste that 
the majority of girls had for physics and engineering. These 
were girls that signed up for the program because they were 
interested in science as a career, but they told us many 
times that they wanted to hear about biology and 
environmental science and medicine. Why did we bore them 
with talks about astronomy? It was bewildering for me as an 
astronomer, because of course I really enjoy astronomy and I 
am used to public talks in astronomy being received with 
wild enthusiasm. Not ALL of the girls felt that way, only 
about 80-90% of them. I never did figure out why. The girls 
themselves wouldn't tell me! Occasionally we would get a 
``convert'' who decided to pursue physics in college,who 
would tell us later that she had never considered physics 
before. So I work on the exposure aspect - not many people 
know what physicists and engineers even do, so by learning 
that, girls might make a better- informed choice about their 
pursuits. But even as early as the age of 15, well before 
they are exposed to the academic hierarchy of latent 
priests, girls are deciding against physics/engineering. 

David Gelernter made a similar observation in his article 
reprinted in STATUS. I disagree very strongly with his 
analogy comparing science to  sports. The analogy is 
completely and totally bogus, and, furthermore,  incorrect 
even in the context of sports -- I would be  willing to take 
him up on the effects and meaning of Title IX any day of the 
week -- he does have a  point when it comes to preferences. 
I've been musing about this for years, beginning when most 
of my girlfriends abandoned our high school math courses at 
the first opportunity. It wasn't that they weren't  getting 
great grades. I hadn't changed. But they had. And like the  
girls I meet in my outreach program, they weren't able to 
articulate why.

Musingly yours,
Megan Donahue

From: Stupendous Man

Beth Hufnagel wrote an item in the last newsletter, urging 
us to read the book "Pythagoras' Trousers."  It describes 
the connection between organized religion and organized 
science over the past few thousand years.  I did read part 
of the book, its last chapter, which summarizes the author's 
views on the current state of the physics community, and how 
it might be changed to accomodate women.

  Based on that reading, I wrote a little text of my own, 
which describes my reading of Margaret Wertheim's views and 
my interpretation of them.  I have placed this document at 
the following URL: 

  To be very brief, I find 

     - I agree with Wertheim that big particle accelerators 
are not the best way to spend research money
     - I agree with Wertheim that some girls are discouraged 
from studying math and science by bias in schools, at all 
     - I agree with Wertheim that it is much easier for any 
person to follow a career in science (or any field) if 
someone else stays home to cook, clean and take care of the 


      - I disagree strongly with her contention that modern 
physics and astronomy does not reveal an objective truth, 
but is instead simply a cultural construct, full of sexist      
bias (in other words, I reject the view of the cultural 
      - I am puzzled by the way that she embraces the 
"heaven-earth dichotomy" between men and women: she claims 
that if more women enter physics, it will become a more 
caring and ethical science, centered on the needs and 
concerns of citizens at large

                                 Michael Richmond

From: "Kathryn N. Mead"

I have some comments in response to the articles in the 
January 2000 issue of STATUS. This posting focuses on 
articles written by Hillenbrand, Georgi and Gelertner. Also 
mentioned are Burbidge's and John Powers articles. In their 
note, editors Frattare and Urry express their desire for 
discussion of this issue of Status. Here is my contribution.


Lynn Hillenbrand writes, "I have been less than sympathetic 
to women's issues throughout most of my life." And elsewhere 
expresses the view that she would not want to get a job with 
the help of Affirmative Action.

Her view is shared by many, especially younger, women.  We 
all want to believe that if we have a job and are successful 
that it is because of our own objectively-measured 
qualifications and performance, not because of favored 
treatment dictated by law or political correctness.

In a way, I'm glad that younger women see so little overt 
discrimination that they feel safe in pursuing their careers 
without "help" and without attending to "women's issues." 
However, I am sad that after so much sacrifice and effort on 
the part of women who came earlier that the younger women 
can not, or choose not, to see beyond their own personal 
situation. Nowadays, many women are afraid of retribution 
and, to protect their careers, avoid saying anything about 
"women's issues." Some go as far as Hillenbrand and speak 
out against affirmative action. As long as they have a job, 
some women seem unaware, or unwilling to acknowlege 
publicly, that discrimination exists and that there is a 
need to address inequities. However, because of 
discrimination, some women may have a lesser job or status 
than they deserve, and others, like me, have left the field. 
Compared to the sacrifices some women have made, it's 
selfish and cowardly of others to protect their own careers 
by being unsupportive of those who seek to build on the 
progress that we have made thus far. It is because of 
outspoken women that went before us that we can, for 
example, observe at Carnegie observatories. Just because 
there are no longer formal bars to women at observatories 
does not mean that discrimination no longer exists.



There is much more to discrimination than 'the number of 
instances of sexism, that Hillenbrand surveyed. These days 
sexism is expressed less often by overt discrete instances, 
such as physical or verbal harassment, and more often by 
subtly dismissive attitudes or remarks toward women and 
their performance at work. For example, a woman may find 
herself in a department in which many of her colleagues 
expect her to fail. These colleagues may be uncomfortable 
around women, having worked so little with them. Or the 
colleagues in question may actually be hostile to women as 

In such a situation, a woman's failures and weaknesses are 
noticed because they justify the others' discomfort or 
hostility.  A woman in an old-fashioned department will have 
a lot to "prove" before her male colleagues see an 
astronomer instead of a wife, daughter or secretary. In 
contrast, younger male colleagues are seen as colleagues 
right away, and their "successes" immediately contribute to 
the man's stature in the department (and in astronomy 

In some departments, the attitude toward women seems to be 
"prove to me that you deserve tenure" while the attitude 
toward men seems to be "prove to me that you don't."In other 
words, women are constantly having to prove their 
worthiness, while with men it is the default view. It is 
more difficult for women than men to be successful in an 
atmosphere of criticism.  Thus, often this attitude toward 
women creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.  If, like men, 
more women could get a job or a promotion by just being good 
or excellent, without being a superstar,that would be 

Department chairs reveal their attitudes toward women when 
they say things like,"we hired a woman once, but it didn't 
work out. " What - no man has ever "not worked out?" not 
gotten tenure, for example? If one woman "fails" they give 
up on all other women?  I've also heard, "we tried to hire a 
woman, but she wouldn't come. " Are we to believe that there 
has only been one woman who was ever good enough for that 

Sometmes efforts to address inequities involve coercion and 
red tape. Unfortunately, the emotional response to these 
beauraucratic demands is often directed toward women. Women 
are seen as the problem, even though it was not we who were 
hiring only white males for all those years.  It is 
discouraging how often efforts to promote fairness and 
inclusion are seen (by, for example, department chairs, 
search committees, provosts, etc.) only as a hardship and 
burden rather than simply as the "right" thing to do.  
Funding and building a new telescope is difficult too, but 
people don't gripe as much about that, nor is the stress of 
it directed at the people who benefit from the project.


It is because of this subtle but pervasive and often 
entrenched attitudes discussed in the previous section that 
women have more difficulty rising to the top of the career 
pyramid than men.  The effect is a slow winnowing out of 
women over time rather than a discontinuity at a glass 
ceiling.  Often while the effects are there to see - low 
percentage of female full professors, for example - the 
causes are more qualitative than quantitative and so may be 
under-identified, under-tabulated, and, as a result, under-

Just because you don't personally experience discrete 
instances of overt sexism (quantitative) doesn't mean that 
differential treatment (qualitative) doesn't exist or that 
it's not effecting you.  Your office mate may not grope you 
or tell off color jokes, but he may make jokes about you 
outside of your presence.  Or he may be verbally dismissive 
of your comments during a department meeting.  Or perhaps 
when a student makes a complaint about you to the dean, your 
department chair does not defend you as vigorously as he 
could. Maybe none of these things happen to you, but they 
are happening.  I know because people tell me their 
experiences. If your colleague is treated less seriously 
because she is a woman, then you are too.


John Powers, in his article on page 19, writes about Tony 
DiCicco's observations about the differences in coaching 
women and men.  (DiCicco was the coach of the US Women's 
Soccer team that won the Women's World Cup this summer.) 
DiCicco says that men tend to blame others while women tend 
to take criticism personally.  I think this is true and 
would like to see it recognized by more people. DiCicco 
says, "You can't be an in-your face type coach with women.  
You have to recognize the differences."

By no means do I expect department chairs to suddenly turn 
"touchy feely" and consciously talk to women differently 
than men.  I do however think it's reasonable to have the 
same positive perceptions of women as men. Furthermore, it's 
reasonable to treat individuals with respect, and to 
establish a communication style with each department member 
that is most effective for that person.  I've also observed 
that members of successful _male_ sports teams ( '99 NY 
Yankees and St.  Louis Rams) talk about the importance of 
the support of their teammates.  Conversely, when the sports 
stars who bicker in public are those on bad teams.  
Therefore, while arguably more important to women, a 
supportive environment is more productive for men as well as 
women.  Finally,  making the effort to communicate 
effectively is simple collegiality and politeness.

The difference between our experience as astronomers and 
that of men goes beyond how people talk about us.  It 
includes how people talk about us, as discussed in the 
previous few sections.  Another area of difference is how 
people form opinions and make decisions about us and then 
justify those decisions to us. The formation of the opinion 
may be done largely out of our presence and based on what 
others say about us.  But at some point decisions will have 
to be disclosed to us.  Decisions about getting a job or 
promotion, or being invited to give a talk or a decision 
about the awarding of grant money.  People may have a 
certain reason or basis for a decision, but that is not the 
explanation they give to you.

A lot of times disparate treatment is extremely subtle and 
can be interpreted many ways besides sexism.  But over time, 
one may realize that illogical but seemingly innocuous 
explanations for things are actually excuses for decisions 
made on the basis of personal discomfort.  "I don't like 
you, but I can't use that as a justification for my actions, 
so I'll make up something. " Scientists, though often 
socially challenged, are smart enough to realize that they 
can't say, "I don't want to work with women, therefore I 
didn't hire you." I was once told by a colleague that his 
negative written evaluation of me was based on the fact that 
I took a week to take down the semester's last lab set up.  
In his opinion, this was too long a delay.  Based on this 
one thing, it was his recommendation that I not be rehired 
to teach at that school for another year.  This does not 
seem an adequate basis for such a conclusion.  I began to 
wonder what his real reason was.  I have heard plenty of 
other 'strange justification' stories from people.

And as those of us who have been around the block know, it's 
not just these major decisions that are determinative of 
someone's career but how you are talked about around the 
department, or how supportive or derisive people are of 
ideas you offer at department meetings.  For example, the 
formal promotion process often serves not to make a 
determination but to justify what your department has 
already decided about the candidate's promotion.

These experiential differences mean that more women spend 
more time outside their comfort zone than men do because we 
are sensitive to things to which men are oblivious.  (I'm 
not suggesting that men try to change this just that women 
and men respond differently to stimuli.) This discomfort may 
lead women to leave the profession because they don't like 
this discomfort AND because they realize they don't have to 
put up with it.  I think that women are more cognizant than 
men that leaving the field is a realistic option for them.  
In other words, I think that women as a population may 
experience more discomfort, but even at the same level of 
discomfort, I think that women are more likely to respond by 
either trying to change the field or leave it whereas men 
will simply endure the discomfort.

One could argue that if women can't hack this comfort zone 
issue, then good riddance.  But I think a lot of men would 
welcome a better atmosphere (starting with the men who are 
concerned with "family issues" as I discuss below. ) There 
is no reason why scientists of either gender should have to 
endure hostility.  The reason that they endure rather than 
modify is that there is not a critical mass of astronomers 
who are willing to try to change the culture.


Every woman who is marginalized or leaves astronomy 
altogether, leaves behind a smaller contingency of women 
who, will each be more isolated. Even the superstar women 
have different career experiences than men and benefit from 
having other women in the profession.  The merely excellent 
women are in particular need of other women to share 
experiences with, because it's the "merely excellent" who 
are usually the most isolated.  It is they who may 
experience most intensely the difficult side of being a 
woman in a male dominated profession. Thus, it is in each 
woman's self interest to be concerned about the status of 
other women in the profession. Even in the complex world of 
women in astronomy, the simple axiom, "there is strength and 
safety in numbers" holds true.

In a tight labor market, one does take a risk when publicly 
addressing "women's issues." I would not want someone to 
lose their job because they were outspoken.  But the fact is 
that there are women have lost their jobs or promotions or 
even careers because they were women (outspoken or not.) I 
know women who know this in their heart and I know women who 
have proved it in court.  In a society in which "feminazi" 
is a well used word, it's tempting to renounce affirmative 
action so as to not be cast in that light. But doing so is 
to accept sexism and discrimination.  Protecting your career 
is one thing, doing so at the expense of other women is 
quite another. We didn't get this far by our foremothers 
taking the safe route and looking out only for themselves. 
We owe it to them, if not to ourselves, to publicly assert 
that while we have come a long way, there is still progress 
to be made.


Another issue that Hillenbrand discussed in her articles is 
males' negative experiences with differential treatment.  I 
will discuss two here, one a sociological example and 
another which is also sociological but is disguised as a 
legal or administrative disparity.


Regarding family leave, Hillenbrand writes,  "Nor are men 
given the same slack as women seem to get when having to 
deal with family issues. "This is a definite problem (though 
the word "slack" is an oversimplification.) Men who want to 
make a bigger family commitment face the view at work that 
it is unseemly for a man to, for example, leave the office 
early to go to his daughter's soccer game or to stay home 
with a sick son.  This is not really about "affirmative 
action" in its legal meaning.  This is about _societal 
expectations_ of men and women, which are largely just as 
flawed for modern men as for modern women.

Women are expected to have higher levels of commitment to 
family.  So when a woman takes time from work to deal with 
family issues,she's just living up to expectations.  
(Extreme examples of these expectations are job interview 
questions such as, "are you married?" or "do you plan to get 
pregnant in the next few years?" These questions indicate an 
effort to anticipate her mobility to accept a job and/or the 
amount of time she will have to take off from work. ) BUT, 
more time for family means less time for work, thus, the 
converse expectation of lower job performance.

Conversely, men are expected to _subjugate_ all family 
responsibilities to their job. (Rarely would a man be asked, 
"do you have a chronically ill family member for whom you 
are the primary caregiver?") Because the man's subjugation 
of family responsibilities leaves more time for work, men 
are expected to have higher levels of job success, and thus 
have less to "prove" at work.

It makes me kind of sick that there is all this pressure for 
both workingmen and women to put aside that which is the 
most important and that over which they actually have the 
most control: family.  Finding success at work is largely 
out of our control, while Finding personal satisfaction from 
family is largely within our control.  Yet we spend more 
time effort trying to please our bosses and colleagues than 
we do on our family and we expect our family to endure being 
second on the priority list.  Why should someone we don't 
love,and often don't respect, be able to demand this much 
attention from us? If we aren't going to spend time with our 
spouse and children, why do we have them? Is it to satisfy 
societal expectations? 

Acceptance of men's commitment to family is just as 
important for "equality" as acceptance of women's 
contributions to their professions. Too many career demands 
are a problem for men and women.  But these career demands 
were not caused by affirmative action. If anything, women's 
presence in astronomy will make it more acceptable to for 
astronomers to spend less time at work and more time with 


Men sometimes find themselves the "victims" of affirmative 
action. Professor Smith, a man, is told by the department 
chair that "because of affirmative action" the department is 
going to focus on Professor Jones', a woman's, promotion 
this year.  Or, Smith is told by a local organizing 
committee, that Jones is going to be an invited speaker at 
the meeting, "because all the other speakers are men. "  
What's really going on here? Is Smith the victim of reverse 
discrimination or bad management?

In the promotion case, perhaps Jones record will be more 
saleable to the promotion committee because she just got a 5 
year NASA grant.  But the department chair doesn't want a 
confrontation with Smith.  If the chair tells Smith, "Jones 
has that 5 year grant and is thus more saleable to the 
administration this year," Smith will feel compelled to 
defend his record against Jones, taking up the chair's time 
and creating an awkwardness between them where none existed 
before (because the chair has now verbalized that Smith's 
record is lacking. ) Or the chair can say, "we're working on 
Jones' promotion because she's a woman. " In the latter 
case, the chair avoids a time consuming and uncomfortable 
discussion with Smith and any lingering awkwardness between 
them created by any implied criticism. With the second 
statement, the chair, and the administration are entirely 
absolved of responsibility for the decision.  This keeps 
these people in their comfort zone, and has the bonus 
benefit for them of making Jones' promotion seem like a 
gift, rather than a reward for outstanding performance.  
Note the difference in her status in the department as a 
result of the "woman" reason rather than the "grant" reason.  
This is yet another example of how women wind up 
marginalzed.  (And is probably an example of why Hillenbrand 
doesn't want to be the beneficiary of Affirmative Action.  
But speaking out against it may not be enough to change the 
perception that she is. )

This personal interaction problem is exacerbated in science 
because most scientists are much more comfortable at their 
computer terminals than they are in social situations.  
Managerial situations are the most demanding of scientists' 
limited social skills. And think about it, scientists get 
into management positions based NOT on their ability in that 
area but based on their scientific accomplishments.  At a 
big department, the chair is some big shot researcher.  At a 
small department, the chair is someone who rotated into the 
job and sees it as a heinous imprisonment.  Either way, 
these are not people who have any training or natural 
ability in management.

So, please please, try to be aware of how often it happens 
that a manager (department chair, dean, provost, grant 
monitor, grant panel member, TAC member) says something that 
is meant to allow that person to avoid taking the 
responsibility for a decision.

Now sometimes it's true that numbers dictate a decision, 
like at least one invited talk must be by a woman.  But 
consider: how did it happen that Smith's slot was the one 
given to the woman? There are maybe 10 other slots that 
could have gone to women.  Here again, social skills are 
involved. Maybe someone thought that Smith was the least 
desirable among the men who wanted to give talks.  (Maybe he 
gives boring talks, but no one wants verbalize to him that 
he is lacking in this area.) Or maybe he would take 
rejection with the least amount of fallout (he's the most 
junior, or the least likely to protest, or he's from a 
"lesser" department) Maybe to the LOC he's the least popular 
of the invited speakers.  Or maybe he was the last to ask to 
give a talk, and thus was the one to be bumped when the 
meeting organizers suddenly realized that there weren't any 
women speakers.

If there were originally zero female invited speakers, and 
now there is one, is Smith the victim of reverse 
discrimination? Or has an instance of discrimination (as 
indicated by numbers) been reversed, and Smith is simply 
paying for his colleagues' oversight?

Understandably, younger men sometimes complain,"We didn't 
create this problem, why should we be the ones to sacrifice 
in order to solve it. " My response is, we women didn't 
create it either, why do you direct your hostility toward 
us?" (Of course there are reasons for younger men to direct 
their hostility toward relatively un-empowered women rather 
than toward the generally male dominant power structure from 
whom they seek jobs, promotions, telescope time and grant 
money.  I won't go into those reasons here.  I am just 
suggesting that sometimes the premise of a statement or 
question does not hold up to scrutiny. )

Furthermore, I think the term "sacrifice" mis-characterizes 
the consequences to men.  In most cases, I think they are 
simply having to compete fairly (something they haven't 
always had to do. ) (It's certainly a benefit to truly 
sexist men to convince other men that women now have unfair 
advantages. ) Sometimes it doesn't seem fair because bad 
management and emphasis on counting paint a picture in which 
women are overreaching and men are getting the shaft.  But 
sometimes counting, assailable though it may be, is the most 
effective mechanism we have to alert us to situations in 
which women are overlooked.  A lack of discrimination toward 
women is not the same thing as discrimination against men.


Moving along to other articles, I noticed an interesting but 
depressing and typical contrast between the "liberal" 
attitudes expressed in the Georgi article and the 
"conservative" analysis in the Gelertner article.  Georgi's 
article was a lengthy analysis based on the premise "my 
views could be based on my limited experience of being in 
the majority.  I will try to consider the situation from the 
perspective of the minority. " I find this type of analysis 
consistent with how I'm trained as a scientist - to analyze 
the data objectively and apply it to the problem.

In contrast, Professor Gelertner's analyss was brief and 
contained many instances where the author used only his own 
experiences as proofs of his preconceived notions.  I was 
quite struck that he used his child's play group experience 
as proof that women don't want to do science.  (Have female 
astronomers been duped or conscripted into the profession 
against their will?) Even more startling was the suggestion 
that making science less exclusionary to women would be like 
forcing the NFL to admit "weak" players. I was unable to see 
the parallel between females in science and weaklings in 


Perhaps Professor Gelertner is suggesting, as many 
conservatives do, that Affirmative Action legally requires 
that UNqualified people be hired and promoted.  This is 
absolutely false.  I challenge Professor Gelertner to show 
me where in statutory or case law  it says that affirmative 
action requires that _un_qualified applicants be hired or 
promoted.  (No newspaper, magazine, TV or other media 
stories, or anecdotes please.  Also, please confine case 
citations to application/evaluation processes which are 
qualitative/subjective, as in academic jobs, rather than 
quantitative/objective such as civil service jobs in which 
the candidate is evaluated on the basis of a written or 
otherwise numerically scored test. )

Regarding academic jobs, affirmative action basically 
requires that jobs be 'made available' to minorities and 
women.  This requirement is essentially satisfied by 
advertising jobs and reviewing applications from women.  
Employers can be "in compliance" with AA guidelines without 
ever hiring a woman, as long as women are considered for 
jobs.  (This is why ads in AASWomen are so important to 
employers because, by definition, the job has been 'made 
available' to women.  And this is why employers really do 
want women to apply, because reviewing these applications 
keeps the employer "in compliance" with affirmative action. 
Yes, an employer could be sued for giving someone a job 
without advertising it.  But these days, most employers 
aren't so ignorant or arrogant that they don't go to the 
trouble of advertising, even when they already know to whom 
they are going to offer the job.  AASWomen is the best 
choice to protect employers in these situations because the 
lead time is only a few days and there is zero financial 
cost. )

In rare circumstances a woman maybe able to prove in court 
that because of discrimination against women, an employer 
denied her a job or promotion. Such discrimination is 
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and that's 
the statute under which employers are sued.  They aren't 
sued for violating their "Affirmative Action Plan. " And 
Title VII does not say that (even qualified) women have to 
be hired, only that they can _not be denied_ employment _on 
the basis of their gender_.  There is a huge difference.

(For more information about this topic, see http://www. aas. 
org/~cswa/status/mead-legal. html. )


Since Professor Gelertner has raised the subject of 
football, and because the Superbowl was yesterday, I would 
like to say one more thing about it. "Diversity" is not an 
ugly word on a football team.  Defensive linemen weighing 
350 pounds are just as important as comparatively weak 
punters, kickers and wide receivers. While most people do 
not visualize a punter when they think of a football player, 
a coach or general manager thinks of all the sizes and 
shapes of players that are necessary to compose a successful 
team.  The fat linemen, skinny wide receivers, and weak 
punters are all part of a team.  And, I might add, their  
contribution to the "chemistry"(qualitative attribute)of the 
team is just as important as the number of sacks, receptions 
or average yards per punt (quantitative attributes. ) This 
is why some teams with "stellar" players fail and other 
teams with "average" players succeed.

Just as a wide receiver brings something to a football team 
that a lineman does not.  A woman brings something to an 
astronomy department that a man does not. In football, a 
quarterback cannot throw the ball without the protection of 
his line, and he needs a receiver to catch the ball.  An 
interaction between players is necessary in football.  And 
so it is in science; it is about intellectual interaction.

[One final note about football and affirmative action.  A 
friend of mine remarked in response to all this discussion 
of affirmative action that, "affirmative action is about 
giving people a chance." It's ironic, in the context of 
Gelertner's suggestions, that Kurt Warner won the Superbowl 
MVP award, as well as the NFL MVP award for the season.  
Kurt Warner is the poster boy for affirmative action.  5 
years ago he was not playing professional or college 
football; he was stocking shelves at a grocery store.  Then 
he played Arena football; this is a type of football that is 
considered a joke to those in the NFL.  This man had a 
"resume" that most would have laughed at.  But the Rams gave 
him a chance, and look what he accomplished.  There is 
something to be gained from looking carefully at a person 
before dismissing them.]


Science cannot progress if everyone thinks the same way and 
certain ideas are excluded even from consideration.  Women 
bring a different way of thinking with them when they embark 
on a scientific career.  As with biological cloning as a 
means to propagate a species, intellectual cloning is not 
the healthiest way to propagate a profession involving 
intellectual exploration.  As scientists, we should be able 
to intellectualize beyond the basic human tendency to 
protect our own survival and to be with our own kind.

Respectfully Submitted,
Kathy Mead

End of CSWA Newsletter of 2/2/2000