Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2001 23:35:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: AASWOMEN for 2/9/01

AAS Committee on the Status of Women weekly newsletter of 2/9/01, 
ed. by Meg Urry and Patricia Knezek

This week's items:
1. Nine Universities vow to increase numbers of women scientists
2. Another view on translating the Dutch noun for "boys/children"
3. Should the mammogram item have been posted last week?
4. A (worrisome) conversation from the AAS/AAPT meeting in San Diego
5. Article in Science on women scientists in Japan
6. Talks on women in aerospace at the Air and Space Museum (Washington DC)
7. NSF research opportunities for women
8. Women Are Good for Business
9. Sports grants for girls
10. Laura C. Harris Endowed Chair for Visiting Scholar at Denison University
11. Assistant Professor/Coordinator of Master of Arts in Teaching Program 
    at Northern Kentucky University

1. Nine Universities vow to increase numbers of women scientists
[Ed.: consolidation of multiple emails]

As many of you know, there was a "summit" meeting at MIT last week
involving the leadership of nine top universities (MIT, Harvard,
Yale, Princeton, Caltech, Stanford, UC Berkeley, U Michigan, and
U Penn). These university presidents and provosts released a statement
that said in part: "Institutions of higher education have an obligation, 
both for themselves and for the nation, to fully develop and utilize 
all the creative talent available." 

They also "recognize[d] that barriers still exist" for women faculty, 
and agreed:
     o  to analyze the salaries and the proportion of other university 
	resources provided to women faculty;
     o  to work toward a faculty that reflects the diversity of the 
	student body;
     o  to reconvene in about a year "to share the specific initiatives 
	we have undertakent to achieve these objectives"; and
     o  to "recognize that this challenge will require significant review 
	of, and potentially significant change in, the procedures 
	within each university, and within the scientific and engineering 
	establishments as a whole."

In an interview after the workshop, the president of MIT, Dr. Charles
Vest, said that in years past, "there were those of us who idealistically 
thought that if we built the undergraduate base [of female students], 
it was going to define the future [in terms of women moving up the 
academic ladder to professorships.] But you can see that is really 
not happening." 

The full MIT press release can be found at

While the 9 participating universities were unanimous in their statement,
it has generated a mixed reaction. Women scientists are generally ecstatic.
A more negative response, based on a report by the Independent Women's 
Forum (, has been described in articles in the National 
Review ( and 
a recent Chronicle of Higher Education ( on 2/7/01),

To summarize, the IWF asserts that male MIT biologists are more productive
(as judged by publication and citation rates) than the women, hence it
was reasonable that they be paid more and given more resources. The
sample they studied is small (smaller than the original MIT study, for
which the data are not public due to confidentiality concerns). The 
causal direction is also uncertain --- is the unequal resource distribution 
in response to, or could it help cause, productivity differences? 

I'm sure we will hear more about this issue in the future!

Meg Urry

2. Another view on translating the Dutch noun for "boys/children"

Concerning the comment from Marian Bruinvels about Dutch version of a
science book (which was posted on the last AASWOMEN, 2/2/01):
   I often show audiences this 1958 book: "Physics Experiments at Home 
   for Boys and Girls" in a Dutch translation "Physics at Home, physics 
   experiments for boys" (Natuurkunde Thuis, natuurkundeproeven voor 
   jongens). "Jongens" in Dutch means "Boys". It is unbelievable, but true.

comes this response from Cecilia Barnbaum:

i have a reply to this--in german, french, spanish, dutch, russian, 
hebrew, and all the other western languanges i've come in contact with, 
when referring to a group of people who consist of both genders, the 
masculine word is used, and no sexism is implied by the user or inferred 
by the listener. we used to do this in english, too, with words such 
as "mankind," which refers to men *and* women, until PC pushed us to 
change our everyday speech (which i resent).

in the western languages listed above, every noun, adjective, etc is 
associated with gender: masculine-feminine (and in some, neuter) unlike 
english where gender does not exist for words that are not related to 
female or male (such as desk, printer, etc...). Although i don't speak 
dutch, i would bet that the title of the dutch book, to a dutch reader, 
would mean "Physics at Home, physics experiments for youngsters,"
without the implying "for boys only."

Dr Cecilia Barnbaum
Dept of Physics, Astronomy & Geosciences
Valdosta State University

3. Should the mammogram item have been posted last week?

We received several comments about the short item last week about
a web site that reportedly donates mammograms for women who can't
afford them:

Faith Vilas (NASA Johnson Space Center) pointed out that you are
allowed to donate once *per day*, not just once only. (So those 
who are so inclined can re-visit the site,

Others suggested we not post items like this, for several reasons,
which we paraphrase here. First, web sites are not an effective way 
to support causes (and some can be scams or illegal or at least against
policy at the host sites). Second, the topic was not directly related 
to women in science, which should be the focus of this listserv. 

Our correspondents were not alone in this latter concern; in fact, we did 
hesitate before posting the item. Being new on this "beat", we are 
still evolving our policies for inclusion in AASWOMEN. Not all material 
submitted will be included, some will be edited, some will be passed 
forward as is. Our intention is to have a relatively narrow focus, 
on the issue of women in astronomy, which we will broaden where 
appropriate to include items about women in other scientific fields, 
and indeed women in other male-dominated arenas -- wherever we feel 
there is useful information or thought-provoking commentary. We also 
provide information, as a service, about jobs, fellowships, prizes, 
and other opportunities (for women or men). In this connection we will 
occasionally provide information about women's health or other issues 
of concern to women, but this is not a newsletter about women's health 
and that is not our focus. Our thanks to those who complained about 
the mammogram posting and those who defended it; there is obvious merit 
in both sides of the argument. 

Meg Urry & Pat Knezek

4. A (worrisome) conversation from the AAS/AAPT meeting in San Diego

from Jonathan Gelbord, Johns Hopkins University (originally an 
email to Meg Urry, which he agreed we could post on AASWOMEN):

I was just thumbing through the last issue of Status, which reminded me
of a conversation I had at the San Diego meeting earlier this month. 
Towards the end of the week (I believe it was Wednesday afternoon) I was
chatting with a middle-aged fellow who was attending the AAPT meeting.
About the first thing he said to me (we hadn't even introduced
ourselves yet) was a comment to the effect of "I'm suprised at
how many women are here at the AAS meeting."

Because of how he said this, it was clear that he had really been quite
struck by this observation. My immediate response was to assume that he
was comparing the gender balance to what he'd seen elsewhere, which I
assumed had been at a physics meeting, so I pointed out that the
underrepresentation of women in astrophysics isn't as bad as the gender
disparity in a broader sampling of physicists.

I started to go on to tell him that if he was interested, there was
about to be a special CSWA session. However, he didn't seem to follow
what I was saying, so he interrupted me to continue his train of
thought: "There are so many women here, and they seem to be doing good
work..." Again, I'm paraphrasing, but the gist of his words and body
language was that he had only then just come to the realization that
capable women scientists might not be a rare aberration. Realizing the
epiphany that he'd just had, I wanted to reiterate the point so I added
"some of the best scientists I've known have been women" (or something
else along those lines). It might not have been the most eloquent
comment, but it was the first thing I thought of on the spot.

Our conversation ended shortly thereafter. We never did exchange
introductions, but I did learn that he teaches high school physics.
This last fact left be wondering whether that's a good or a bad thing.
Apparently, up until that meeting, he had been of the belief that in
general, women can't do science. I can only imagine the number of young
women he may have discouraged through the however many years he'd been
teaching. On the other hand, maybe he learned something himself at that
meeting, and in the future he will hopefully be as encouraging of his
female students as he would be with the males.

Usually I tend to take the optimist's position, but in this case I've got
to admit that I'm rather disappointed. Yes, maybe this teacher will be
more open minded in the future, but he's not the only one who learned
something: this exchange made me realize that we have much further to go
than I had previously considered. Before, I'd given thought towards the
problem at the college/university level, but I hadn't really thought
about how many women have learned to avoid science by the time they get
there. What can we do to keep younger women from becoming discouraged?
How many other teachers like this fellow are our there? How can we open
their eyes?

Maybe this is one good reason for having more joint AAS/AAPT meetings -
these meetings can create a mechanism in which we at the higher
education level can influence the supply side of the equation...

Anyway, I wanted to share this story with someone, and you were the
first person I thought of. I appologize if I've rambled on...

Take care,	

5. Article in Science on women scientists in Japan

from Kevin Marvel (AAS):

This week's (2 Feb 2001) issue of Science magazine has an article
on page 817 on the plight of women scientists in Japan. I recommend
it to your committee and all interested Status readers.

6. Talks on women in aerospace at the Air and Space Museum

For those in the Washington-Baltimore area (or visiting), Lynn Scholz
(AAS) tells us that the Air and Space Museum is planning a series 
of events featuring women in space, air flight and astronomy. Check
out the schedule at

In particular, note this one:
	Behind Every Great Man - 4000 Years of Women Astronomers
	Saturday, March 31

7. NSF research opportunities for women

from Lauren Jones (Denison University):

The following document (nsf0169) is now available from
the NSF Online Document System

   Title: ADVANCE: Increasing the Participation and Advancement of
          Women in Academic Science and Engineering Careers
    Type: Program Announcements & Information
 Subtype: Crosscutting Programs, NSF-wide

It can be found at:

8. Women Are Good for Business
[This item was circulated at STScI, and comes from the online magazine Wired:]

Women in top management positions make for a healthier and wealthier 
company, according to a new study by University of Michigan Business 
School professor Theresa Welbourne. She "found that for rapidly growing
IPO companies, the initial stock price, stock price growth, and growth
in earnings over three years were higher with women executives." Is it 
the X chromosome that determines success? "I don't think it's the women 
per se that's causing the positive effect," says Welbourne.  "I think 
it's the diversity of the management team." The different ideas and 
perspectives can lead to better business decisions. In addition, when 
women are involved in top management, "there is also an impact on the 
communication in the company." 

Check out the full story at,1540,40438,00.html.

9. Sports Grants for Girls

This item from Kathy Mead, who explains "While sports aren't directly 
related to science, empowerment and self confidence gained in sports 
can give a girl or woman needed confidence in the workplace. Without 
that self confidence, it's almost impossible to advance. I think lack 
of self confidence is the number one (self changeable) barrier women face":

Oshman's SuperSports USA Announces Grants for Girls Program

Deadline: June 9, 2001

Oshman's, a sporting goods chain store based in Texas,
created the Grants for Girls program to support the
development of sports opportunities for girls and to
encourage mentoring by and contact with female sports role
models. Grant awards range from $500 to $2,000.

To be considered, applying programs must serve girls ages
17 and under and be part of an existing organization.
Programs must also be located within 50 miles of a parti-
cipating Oshman's SuperSports USA location. Visit the
Oshman's Web site for more information and to download an
application form.

Debi Fly
Tel: (713) 967-8576
RFP Link:

10. Laura C. Harris Endowed Chair for Visiting Scholar at Denison University
[from Lauren Jones, Denison University; note deadline SOON]

        Denison University is seeking a scholar who has demonstrated
outstanding expertise in an academic field and who is eager to participate
in the intellectual life of a residential liberal arts college by working
with students and faculty. An objective of the Laura C. Harris bequest is
to "enhance and promote the education of young women as students and as
professionals and serve to promote the career opportunities and carry on
the pioneering spirit of women students at Denison." We prefer that the
Chair spend from one semester to a year at Denison, so that she or he can
fully participate in sharing her or his expertise in various ways with the
students and faculty at Denison. We are open to considering an application
from two scholars who are involved in collaborative research.  Educational
contributions can include teaching courses, giving public lectures,
conducting faculty seminars, working one-on-one with students, mentoring
junior faculty, giving presentations to classes, etc.  Denison is an
undergraduate, residential, liberal arts college of 2,000 students.  The
appointment will be affiliated with Women's Studies.  Ethnic minorities
and women are encouraged to apply.  Applications should include a cover
letter explaining the types of contributions the scholar would like to
make to the Denison community and a vita. Please send applications to
Eloise Buker, Chair of Laura Harris Selection Committee, Women's Studies,
Denison University, Granville, OH 43023. Review of applications will begin
February 15, 2001 and continue until the position is filled.

11. Advertisement for Assistant Professor/Coordinator of Master of Arts in
Teaching Program at Northern Kentucky University
[from Ken Carter, Northern Kentucky University]

Northern Kentucky University is beginning an exciting, new graduate program 
this fall -- the Master of Arts in Teaching. This program is designed to 
assist persons who already possess a baccalaureate degree and a major in a 
teacher certification area to enter the teaching profession on a part time 
basis over a two-year period. This program will enroll two groups of 
students: (1) those persons who are in business, industry, and service 
occupations and who wish to complete teacher certification requirements 
while they remain employed full time in their present positions; (2) those 
persons who have been employed by the local school districts in Kentucky on 
an alternative certification plan permitting them to complete teacher 
certification requirements during a two-year period.


The School of Education at Northern Kentucky University invites applications
for a tenure track position at the Assistant Professor level.
Responsibilities include overseeing student admission and certification;
design and implement program policies and procedures; work with
superintendents and principals and the Office of Field Placements and
Certification to admit and place students; teach at least one course each
year. Applicants must have an earned doctorate in Education; 3 years
eaching experience in P-12 schools; proven ability to work with diverse
opulations and Administration experience. To apply send (a) letter of
application outlining qualifications (b) curriculum vitae; and (c) three
letters of recommendation with contact information to: Dr. Linda Olasov,
Associate Dean of Education, Northern Kentucky University, Highland
Heights, Kentucky 41099. For additional information visit our web-site at Applications will be accepted until the
position is filled, but formal review will begin immediately. Northern
Kentucky University is an equal opportunity affirmative action employer.