Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 01:42:47 -0500 (EST)

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
weekly issues of 12/28/2000, ed. by Meg Urry and Patricia Knezek

This week's issues:
1. AASWOMEN now set up
2. Response to Topic of the Month (class-action suits)
3. Last chance for Margaret Burbidge Luncheon at the January AAS 
4. Interesting websites for women in (other) sciences
5. from the Chronicle: "What Stymies Women's Academic Careers? It's Personal" 
6. Conference on "Dynamic Women in Business"
7. Jobs
   Faculty Position in Optical/IR Instrumentation (Univ. of Virginia)
   Scientific Staff Appointments at NRAO (Charlottesville, Green Bank, Socorro)
   Postdoctoral Fellowship in the VIRMOS Deep Survey (Obs. Brera, Merate, Italy)
   Postdoctoral Position on Astrophysics of AGN (Obs. Padova, Italy)
   Research Associate Position in Observational Astronomy (Stockholm Obs., Sweden)

1. The AASWOMEN listserver is now set up, so from now on, submissions, requests
to subscribe or unsubscribe, or suggestions and comments should be sent to . (Thanks to the STScI computer support staff for their 
help!) The next issue will likely be distributed after the AAS meeting, then
we will (attempt to) revert to a regular weekly schedule.

Meg Urry and Pat Knezek

2. From Tue Dec 12 19:43 EST 2000 (Kathy Mead)
Subject: topic of the month - kudos!

Class action is the way to go to further this cause. With individual cases
the university can say

she went to a lesser grad school
the department's budget was cut the year she was hired
the department's budget is lower than other departments
she took time off to have a baby
she didn't bring in enough grant money
her post-doc was at a lesser institution
she hasn't worked her as long as the men
she didn't have enough grad students
she didn't come to enough faculty meetings
she's always leaving early to take care of children
she has poor teaching evaluations
she has brown hair
she doesn't dress right
she didn't do enough to improve freshman lab
she is uncollegial
we don't like her.
she doesn't think right
her specialty isn't the hot one now
etc., etc., etc. ...

They can make a million excuses. But when you average all the
men's salaries and all the women's salaries, it becomes much harder
to explain away the disparity.

Thanks to Paula Szkody for sharing this article. You're off to a great 
start on AASWomen.

3. Last chance! There are still a handful of places remaining for the Margaret 
Burbidge luncheon (see below) at the January AAS Meeting. We look forward to 
seeing many of you there!

****Thursday, 11 January 2001, 12:00noon, Terrace Pavilion****

Margaret Burbidge will be honored for her outstanding contributions to 
astronomy and for her role in inspiring other women astronomers. A special 
luncheon will follow her talk at the Special Session sponsored by the 
Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy. This event, hosted by CSWA, 
AAS, AURA, AUI, CIW, and STScI, will include brief remarks by several 
invited guests. ***Anyone and everyone interested should plan to attend***. 
The cost is $25 ($15 for postdocs, $7 for students). Seating is limited. 
Places must be reserved in advance by sending email to,
and an accompanying check (made out to the Space Telescope Science Institute, 
with the Memo notation "Margaret Burbidge Lunch") must be received at STScI 
by 4 January 2001 (send to Victoria Horne, STScI, 3700 San Martin Drive,
Baltimore MD 21218).

4. Readers have noted several websites with parallels to women in astronomy:

   Women in biology:

   Women in chemistry:

5. Thanks to Paula Szkody for another interesting article from 
The Chronicle of Higher Education (12/15/00):

What Stymies Women's Academic Careers? It's Personal 


Last December, I was on the Metroliner, preparing for a talk on work-and-family 
issues that I was to give to the Harvard Law School Association of Greater 
Philadelphia. Looking through an alumni directory that lists what the members 
of my law-school class at Harvard were doing 15 years after graduation, I 
learned that 51 men, but only 8 women, had reported both being partners in a 
law firm and having children. The percentage of men reporting both was twice 
as high as that of women.

OK, I thought, let's look at the members of the class who had become academics. 
Roughly 50 had gone into academe -- about 30 men and 20 women. Again the 
numbers were striking, although in a different way. One out of three of the 
male academics were teaching at elite law schools, but only one of the 20 women 
was. That woman was the daughter of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Further research showed that my law-school class is not unusual. A study by 
James Lindgren and Daniel Seltzer, published in 1996 in the Chicago-Kent Law 
Review, listed the 50 most prolific law professors. Thirty-nine of them were 
men. And 28 of those men taught at top law schools, while only 4 of the 11 
women did. In other words, nearly three-fourths of the highly productive men 
but only about one-third of the highly productive women had reached the major 

Those trends are not limited to academics in the field of law. In my book 
Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It, I 
report that while almost as many women as men train for academic careers, 
women are much less likely to receive tenure and much more likely to drop out 
of academe, or to work at colleges that focus on teaching rather than at 
research universities.

The reason for the discrepancies is that we make it easier for men to succeed 
in academe by the way we define the ideal faculty employee: someone who works 
for several decades straight, taking no time off to bear or rear children; and 
someone who is able to relocate -- because, as the saying has it, "to move up, 
you've got to move."

That definition benefits men in three ways. The first is the simplest: Men need 
no time off for childbirth. How do institutions cover for a woman who has a 
baby? Making her colleagues take up the slack while she is away from work may 
strain relations within the department in ways that an untenured professor can 
ill afford.

Childbirth is only the beginning. Producing a baby may take nine months, but 
raising a child takes 20 years. In the United States, women still do 70 to 80 
percent of child care -- clearly, a disproportionate share -- and that affects 
how much time they can spend on paid work. That is the second way our current 
definition of the ideal academic benefits men.

If we look at American women between the ages of 25 and 44 -- the key years of 
career development -- we find that both motherhood and part-time work are 
common, and that overtime work is rare. Most women become mothers, and two out 
of every three mothers aged 25 to 44 work less than 40 hours per week. A study 
of scientists in academe and elsewhere by the sociologists Kimberlee A. Shauman 
and Yu Xie, published in 1996 in the journal Demography, found that female 
scientists with children under the age of 6 work only about one-third as many 
hours as their male counterparts. Working less than full time virtually 
guarantees that a woman will not get tenure at a major research university, 
no matter how talented she is.

Data on part-time work do not capture the full dimensions of mothers' time 
constraints, because ambitious academics generally work not only full-time but 
overtime -- often 10 to 14-hour days. Only 8 percent of all mothers aged 25 to 
44 work that kind of schedule.

The time bind makes it difficult for women to be as productive as men in 
scholarly terms. But even if they are, productive women are less likely to 
reach top universities. That is because our current definition of the ideal 
professor requires that he or she be free to relocate.

There are two ways for an academic to reach a top institution. One is to start 
out there. The other is to start elsewhere and work one's way up. For the 
second path (and sometimes even for the first), relocation is extraordinarily 
important. Academics may have to move not once but several times, because in 
many fields, only a few jobs open up in any given year -- and those jobs are 
likely to be spread out across the country. Even academic stars may start out 
in Topeka. But to reach Cambridge or Palo Alto, they have to move.

Since the 1970's, many studies have reported that a lack of geographical 
mobility seriously limits the careers of many women. Probably the most recent 
research is an as-yet-unpublished study conducted by Phyllis Moen and her 
colleagues at Cornell University (with financial support from the Alfred P. 
Sloan Foundation), based on interviews in 1998 and 1999 with faculty and staff 
members at two major research universities in New York State. The study found 
that 44 percent of the men and 49 percent of the women said the husband's 
career took priority, while only 17 percent of the men and 19 percent of the 
women said the wife's career did.

When the researchers asked whether the subjects had ever had a career or 
educational opportunity that would have required their partner to make 
significant changes (like moving to a different city or taking another job), 
49 percent of the women but only 24 percent of the men said they had. One-third 
of the men, and half of the women, had turned down such an opportunity.

As striking as those data are, they almost certainly underestimate the 
differences between men and women. The Cornell study covered only dual-career 
couples, who are much less likely to relocate for one spouse's job than are 
couples in which the wife stays home. A 1987 study, published in Work and 
Occupations by the sociologists Cynthia H. Deitch and Susan Walsh Sanderson, 
included husbands with at-home wives as well as dual-career couples. It found 
that only 23 percent of the husbands of female faculty members, compared with 
70 percent of the wives of male faculty members, had moved for their spouse's 
career. In the same study, only 21 percent of faculty husbands, but 46 percent 
of faculty wives, had interrupted their own careers for a move.

Academic administrators should realize that some commonly accepted hiring-and-
employment practices may discriminate against women. Giving women equal 
opportunity in academe requires two changes.

One is the creation of a part-time tenure track. Colleges and universities, 
like other employers, need to start judging employees by the quality of their 
work rather than the schedule they keep. We need a tenure track that offers 
proportional pay, benefits, and advancement for reduced hours of work, keeping 
in mind that 40 hours per week is often part-time in academe. Someone who works 
only 30 hours a week might need twice as long as a full-time faculty member to 
become eligible for tenure.

Because working half-time would mean earning only half-pay, most people would 
not work part-time on a permanent basis. But a part-time tenure track would 
allow parents to slow their pace of work while their children were young, 
without losing all chances of earning tenure eventually.

The second change is to set up, and provide financial support for, policies 
that help the spouses of recruited faculty members find suitable employment. 
Often the best option for the spouse is to work at the college itself, perhaps 
sharing a job with the recruited faculty member. The most effective policies 
provide money to pay the spouse's salary. In other cases, the college could 
help the spouse contact potential employers.

Spousal-employment policies benefit women more than men -- and thus help 
counteract discrimination against women -- because women are more likely to 
have working spouses, and because husbands are less likely to follow their 
wives to a new community without a guaranteed job than wives are to follow
their husbands.

A study published this year in The Journal of Higher Education by Lisa E. 
Wolf-Wendel, Susan Twombly, and Suzanne Rice found that only 42 percent of the 
360 universities surveyed had written spousal-employment policies. Forty-five 
percent of research universities, but only 20 percent of liberal-arts colleges, 
had such policies, either written or unwritten.

Spousal-employment policies, and the shared positions that often result, can 
produce significant benefits for the institution as well as for individual 
academics. As one respondent quoted in the study put it: "We have four [full-
time equivalent positions] but eight people, talents, personalities, research/
teaching areas." Another went further, commenting that faculty members who hold 
"two-thirds positions almost always make more than two-thirds contribution to 
the university." And a third said, "I can think of instances where the partner 
was considered to be a greater professional success and an asset to the 
university" than the faculty member the university had first sought to hire.

Despite the positive experiences of many institutions, opposition to spousal-
employment policies is often substantial. Some faculty members object on 
grounds of threats to departmental autonomy, or lack of resources. Those 
objections can be addressed if the university helps cover the costs of jobs for 
spouses. Opposition may also come from unions, or from unmarried people who 
regard spousal hiring as preferential treatment. One respondent told Wolf-Wendel
and her colleagues that "our general counsel believes there are legal problems 
with [affirmative-action/Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] laws if we 
have an across-the-board policy."

What that general counsel may not realize is that legal problems may result 
from current policies. If academic institutions are serious about giving women 
equal opportunity, they need to redesign the employment practices that continue 
to have a disproportionately negative impact on women.

Joan Williams is a professor of law at American University's Washington College 
of Law. Her most recent book is Unbending Gender: Why Family and Work Conflict 
and What to Do About It, published this year by Oxford University Press.

6. Subject: Dynamic Women in Business Conference at Harvard Business School
   Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2000 01:20:04 US/Eastern
   From: Shalini Verma, WSA Conference Co-Chair,

I would like to invite you and the members of The American Astronomical Society 
to the 'Dynamic Women in Business' conference at the Harvard Business School 
on January 20, 2001. Our latest informational email is below. We would love to 
have you and some of your members join us for this celebration. 

[Ed. Abbreviated description follows:]

Intrigued by what it takes to become Fortune Magazine's most powerful women in 
business? Did you ever wonder how to build a company to a stock valued at over 
$10 Billion? Want to get the inside scoop on turning around the largest airline 
manufacturer in the world? Then you cannot miss The Women's Student Association 
Annual Business Leadership Conference, "Dynamic Women in Business: A 10th 
Anniversary Celebration Past, Present, and Future of Women in Business"
Saturday, January 20, 2001. We will highlight accomplishments and share 
opportunities and challenges facing women today and tomorrow. Keynote speakers 
include Deborah C. Hopkins (Executive VP and CFO, Lucent Technologies) and 
Ellen Hancock (Chairman and CEO, Exodus Communications, Inc.). We have industry 
panels and career theme panels (including The Fast Track, Power Couples, 
Companies Creating New Work Structures, Work/Life Balance, Networking & 
Mentoring). Get more details or buy your ticket online now at . 

7. Jobs

[Ed. note: most of the following ads have been shortened. For details most are
listed in the AAS Job Register.]

Faculty Position in Optical/IR Instrumentation at University of Virginia

I would like to draw the attention of women astronomers to our faculty
position in optical/IR instrumentation (
While the deadline is 5 January, 2001, we will consider new applications until 
the position is filled. Interested persons can contact me ( 
to check the current status.

Robert T. Rood

Scientific Staff Appointments at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO)

NRAO invites applications for appointments to the scientific staff. Basic 
requirements include a Ph.D. in astronomy, astrophysics, physics, or a related 
field, a minimum of three years postdoctoral experience, and a record of 
leadership and ability in radio astronomy. NRAO scientific staff members
are expected to contribute to the operation and future development of the 
Observatory, and maintain a vigorous program of independent research. Two 
appointments are expected at the rank of Assistant Scientist for an initial 
period of three years, with the possibility of an eventual permanent 
appointment, including AUI tenure. In exceptional cases, a more senior initial 
appointment may be considered. Available positions include:
  (Charlottesville VA) - oversight of education and public outreach 
  (Green Bank WV) - development of Green Bank Telescope's millimeter capability 
  (Socorro NM) - NRAO Assistant Director for Socorro Operations (esp. VLA, VLBA)
Further information can be found at on these positions and others. 
Applications should be sent to the Director's Office, NRAO, 520 Edgemont Road, 
Charlottesville VA 22901-2475 and should include: a letter with a description 
of research interests and plans, a presentation of qualifications for the 
position, a curriculum vitae, and the names of five scientists who have been 
asked to send letters of reference directly to the NRAO. All application 
materials and supporting letters received at the above address by April 15, 
2001 will receive full consideration. The NRAO is operated by Associated 
Universities, Inc. (AUI) under cooperative agreement with the National Science 
Foundation. The NRAO is an equal opportunity employer (M/F/H/V).

Postdoctoral Fellowship in the VIRMOS Deep Survey
Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Merate, Italy

We invite applications for a postdoctoral fellowship in Cosmology to 
work in the VLT-VIRMOS Deep Survey (
at the Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera (OAB), starting in the fall 2001. 
The VIRMOS Survey will be conducted during 120 VLT nights by the VIRMOS 
Consortium, a collaboration of six French and Italian institutes, and
the successful applicant will be fully involved in survey observations, 
data analysis and interpretation. The fellowship is initially for two years, 
with possibility of further extension. Applicants should have research 
interests/experience in galaxy surveys and galaxy and large-scale structure 
formation and evolution. Experience with data analysis and the handling of 
large data sets will be an asset. He/She will be based in Merate, near Milan.
The gross salary will be commensurate to experience, within the approximate 
range EU 22,000 to EU 25,000. The grant includes an appropriate travel and
computing budget. Interested individuals should send (preferably by email)
a Curriculum Vitae, list of publications and a statement of research interests, 
and should also arrange to have three letters of reference sent directly to 
the same electronic address (or by regular mail if preferred). Applications 
received before 15 January 2001 will be given full consideration. Please 
quote reference "OAB-VIRMOS Fellowship" on mail correspondence. Informal
inquiries can be directed to Luigi Guzzo at .

Postdoctoral Position at Observatory of Padova on the Astrophysics of AGN

A postodoctoral position is available for one year (customarily renewable for 
a second year) at the Astronomical Observatory of Padova in Italy. The 
successful candidate is expected to work on spectroscopic data of Active 
Galactic Nuclei (AGN), with particular attention to Broad Absorption Line 
Quasars, as part of an Italian multi-Institute project on obscuration effects 
in AGN. Candidates should have a doctorate or a degree equivalent to the 
Italian "Laurea." Research experience on AGN, especially if directly related to 
the fellowship topic is preferred; however, anyone with a strong background in
extragalactic astronomy and/or experience with optical-UV or X-ray spectroscopic
data is encouraged to apply. The successful applicant is expected to work on
analysis and interpretation of multifrequency data of BAL QSOs, and on a large 
spectroscopic database of AGN observations. The grant provides access to 
computing facilities as well as to a travel budget. Annual gross salary is 
approximately 13000 euros. International applications should include: (1) cover 
letter (following the template); (2) statement certifying the applicant has a 
Ph.D. or "Laurea" equivalent (roughly equivalent to an American MS degree); 
(3) copy of Ph.D. thesis; (4) CV and research activity; (5) publication list; 
(6) list of documents/papers enclosed with application; (7) copies of published 
and unpublished work and other documents, including reference letters (maximum 
3), that the candidate thinks appropriate for committee evaluation. Italian 
applications should follow the guidelines in the official announcement. 
Deadline for submission is Jan. 1, 2001; those received after Jan. 12, 2001 
will not be considered. Applications should be sent to: Al Direttore
dell'Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio, 
5 35122-PADOVA, Italia, Tel. +39-0498293411, specifying "AGN Obscuration 
Effects Fellowship" on the envelope. It is highly advisable that international 
candidates send their application material by express mail. Informal requests 
for further information may be addressed to Dr. Paolo Marziani 
( For further details, see
The official announcement (in Italian, including a cover letter template) is 
available at:

Research Associate Position in Observational Astronomy at Stockholm Observatory

A Research Associate position in observational astronomy at Stockholm 
Observatory (Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, Sweden) is 
available starting during year 2001. The position is for 4 years. The 
applicant should have a PhD obtained not later than Dec. 31, 2000, and only 
under special circumstances will an applicant with a PhD obtained before 
Dec. 31, 1995, be considered. The salary level, being at least SEK 23.300 
per month (approx. $29.000 per year), depends on qualifications. We especially 
encourage female applicants. At Stockholm Observatory (see
observational, theoretical and experimental work is carried out, in star 
formation, planetary systems, AGB-stars, supernovae, the Galactic Centre, 
galactic structure and dynamics, active galactic nuclei, high redshift objects, 
IR-astronomy, high energy astrophysics, and solar physics. Sweden has access to 
all ESO instruments and ESA projects, and local and national computing 
facilities are very good. The application should consist of Curriculum Vitae, 
the PhD certificate, list of publications with three copies of all relevant 
publications, short written account of past and planned research, and three 
names of reference (willing to provide letters of reference upon request). The 
application should arrive not later than Dec. 31, 2000 at the mailing address 
"Stockholm University, Registrator/PA, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden" 
(Fax: +46-8-163866; a signed original should be sent by mail). Please quote 
Ref. No. 614-2716/00. For more information contact Prof. Hans Olofsson, 
Director, Stockholm Observatory, S-133 36 Saltsj÷baden, Sweden; 
(tel)+46-8-16 44 48, (fax)+46-8-717 47 19; (email)