Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 09:29:12 -0500 (EST)
Subject: CSWA Newsletter of 4/5/2000

            AAS Committee on the Status of Women
    weekly issues of  4/ 5/2000, ed. by Priscilla Benson
***  send email and addresses to  ***

This week's issues:
1.  More on Women Speakers at Conferences
2.  Conference on Women and Science
3.  Sexual harassment of Canadian space researcher
1. More on Women Speakers at Conferences
From: Kris Sellgren

Right on Vera!  I never thought of tearing up those 
ubiquitous conference posters that never list any 
significant number of women speakers, or of sending angry e-
mail directly to the conference organizer.  This is much 
more effective action than complaining to the AAS women's 
network about inequities, which is preaching to the 

Avi's response was totally inadequate.  5 women invited out 
of a total of 45 invited speakers, that he was so proud of, 
was still only 10% women. That still has women astronomers 
underrepresented by a factor of 2 to 3, even if all of the 
women invitees had said yes, which they didn't.  Did it 
occur to him to ask other women astronomers to fill in for 
those who had previous commitments?  Even I, whose research 
is far from cosmology, can think of half a dozen women he 
could have asked instead.

I have been fighting some variation of this battle for 25 
years; Vera, you have been fighting for much longer.  It 
seems like all the progress that has been made is that the 
men *say* they are not discriminating.  But in our graduate 
program, we lose a much higher fraction of women graduate 
students (50%!) than male graduate students. Of our women 
who have earned PhDs in the last 8 years, 100% (!) have left 
astronomy after their first postdoc. Larger studies have 
confirmed this trend, of a higher fraction of women dropping 
out at every level from high school math to postdocs.  And 
now we have the MIT report, which documents how senior women 
faculty in science are systematically discriminated against 
within their departments, from lab space to salary to 
teaching assignments to committee assignments.  Invited 
talks are yet another manifestation of the same problem.  
Something is very very wrong with the system, at every stage 
of our careers, and we need to figure out where the problems 
lie and fix them.

Kris Sellgren
Ohio State University

From: "Kathryn N. Mead"

Hi Vera,

Thank you so much for sharing your meeting poster
correspondence in AASWomen.

Clearly, this guy's awareness of social issues has not 
reached its full potential. Dr. Loeb's response is a 

He doesn't waste any time getting to the first stereotype, 
"I am sorry that you were upset." Well, of course, Vera, the 
problem is with _you_!  You, like the rest of us are just so 
sensitive and men are always sorry to have to deal with our 

Next, the ol' "we invited 5 women, but only 2 would come." I 
guess it's enough to _try_ to get 5 women and if some choose 
not to come, well, he's done his part, right? Once the 
organizers have made a nominal effort, they are absolved of 
any further responsibility. If we women don't want to go, 
then that's our problem - there are plenty of men to take 
our place.

As for his "very best intentions", well, my mother used to 
tell me right where good intentions lead.

It is in no one's personal career interest to spend time or 
clout promoting fairness and attending to social issues. It 
is in one's career interest to get funding. If this meeting 
is funded by public money, then the organizers are obligated 
to not discriminate. Unfortunately, to get the attention of 
people like this, it may be necessary to sue, even though 
the plaintiffs would almost certainly lose. In other words, 
if funds are at stake, perhaps that would motivate people to 
do the "right" thing. (But probably not.) Obviously, direct 
suggestions from one of the most eminent scientists in the 
field is _not_ sufficient to raise awareness and instill 
responsibility. (I wonder if he would have as oblivious if a 
man had made this suggestion.)

Finally, I want to thank you for your unwavering support of 
"women's issues." It is so validating and refreshing for me 
to see a _senior_ woman speak out on these issues. It's so 
much easier for women to take the Clarence Thomas approach 
to success - to validate rather than question sub-maximal 
social awareness.

Kathy Mead

2. Conference on Women and Science
From: WIPHYS Posting for Mar 28, 2000

The  St.Petersburg Women Association  in Science (SPWAS), 
St.Petersburg Association of Scientists and Scholars 
(SPASS), St.Petersburg Research Centre of the Russian 
Academy (SPb RC) and St.Petersburg European University (SPb 
EU)  are organizing an International Conference
It will be held on June 30 - July 2, 2000, in St.Petersburg. 
A growing awareness of ever increasing challenges to 
humankind at the beginning of the millennium lies behind our 
determination to provide a forum for women colleagues in 
various spheres of science and the humanities where they 
could voice their concerns and articulate their views on 
various challenges facing us and ways of solving them as 
seen and assessed by women. This does not exclude a possible 
participation of male colleagues who might want to 
contribute their vision of women's perspective roles in 
solving the problems of the 21st century.  The cultural 
program will include visits to the world famous Hermitage 
and other museums. We plan to hold several workshops which 
will largely depend on the range of your interests. They may 
cover such topics as social, political and economic changes 
facing women due to globalization; women of science and 
their role in the period of transition - in Russia and other 
countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); 
women's specific role in science and the academia in the USA 
and Europe.   We expect papers devoted to the analysis and 
assessment of scientific, psychological, statistical, legal 
(copyright) and other aspects of women's role in the 
scientific community. We will welcome presentations on such 
topics as role challenges (woman as chief / woman as 
subordinate); reconciling work and family; educating the 
youth in science and scientific continuity; woman's role in 
the international scientific community (participating in 
international projects, conferences and societies); women 
and environmental protection; perilous trends in the world's 
social development.                          

For more information, contact:

Dr. Nelly Didenko,
Deputy Chairperson of the Organization Committee,
Co-Chairperson of SPWAS,
Learned Secretary of SPASS 
Co-Chairman Galina Merkulova

3. Sexual Harassment of Canadian Space Researcher
From: (Melissa McGrath)

Dear Colleagues,

As many of you will know, there has been significant press 
in the past two weeks concerning the sexual harassment of 
Canadian space researcher, Dr. Judith Lapierre, during an 
isolation experiment in Russia.  You can review the articles 
in the Globe and Mail

The regional NSERC/Industry Chairs for Women in Science and 
Engineering have responded to the President of the Canadian 
Space Agency and to the Minister of Industry which oversees 
the CSA.

We encourage you to also contact these individuals and the 
Globe and Mail and to distribute this letter to interested 
colleagues through your organizations.

Hon John Manley
Minister, Industry Canada
235 Queen Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H5
Telephone (613) 995-9001
Fax  (613) 992-0302

End of CSWA Newsletter of 4/5/2000