Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002 00:16:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: AASWOMEN for April 19, 2002

	AAS Committee on the Status of Women
    Weekly issue of 4/19/2002, ed. by Meg Urry and Patricia Knezek

This week's issues:
1. Careers vs. babies, part 2
2. Article profiles Megan Donahue, STScI astronomer
3. U.S. Delegation's report on IUPAP Conference on Women in Physics
   now available, and
   IUPAP Discussion at June AAS meeting (and April APS/HEAD meeting)
4. Letter from Sally Ride on science festival for girls
5. Women in Aerospace Space Policy Forum
6. Author seeks personal narratives from academics who have
   combined work and family
7. Job in Theoretical Physics, Argonne National Laboratory,
   Physics Division

1. Careers vs. babies, part 2

Eds. We received a number of comments on last week's item
about the Time cover story on babies and career women:

From Amy Simon-Miller
   More follow up on media coverage of the Hewett book on 
   careers vs. babies (Time cover story last week). CNN points 
   out that not everyone agrees with the book, though they still 
   neglect the friendlier workplace aspect. See:

Responding to Meg Urry's question, "The one number that 
does seem hard to get around -- and it is horrible -- is that 
only 10% of women 42 or older can have children with their own 
eggs. I found this quite surprising and wonder if anyone knows 
more?" Mayra Martinez writes:
   One of the segments of last week's 60 Minutes talked about this 
   and other fertility problems. Sometimes, career women think 
   they can wait until very late in their lives (late 40s or even 
   50s) to start having children because they have heard of all 
   the fertility treatments available these days. However, they do 
   not realize that most of the really visible cases have involved 
   the use of younger  women's eggs, not their own. Perhaps you 
   could check CBS's website for more information about the topic.

   Thank you for your wonderful work with the Status of Women 
   mailing list. It is a great source of information.

[Ed. note: Both the CBS program and the Time article were based on
a just-published book by Sylvia Hewlett, who, incidentally, was
one of the fortunate 10%, having had a child at age 51 under her
own steam.]

In response to Meg Urry's statement from last week's AASWOMEN, 
"For example, in describing the statistics of childless women in 
demanding professions, the unspoken assumption is that those women 
all wanted to have children and could not because they were infertile, 
while in fact, many may have chosen not to have children," Jacqueline 
Ward writes: 
   I just wanted to point out that [the Time article says]: "But 
   Hewlett argues that many other women did not actually choose 
   to be childless. When she asked women to recall their intentions 
   at the time they were finishing college, Hewlett found that only 
   14% said that they definitely did not want to have children."

From Fran Verter, some useful resources on the web:
      "Resolve: The National Infertility Association, with its
      nationwide network of Chapters, was established in 1974. 
      We are a dynamic organization dedicated to providing education,
      advocacy and support for men and women facing the crisis 
      of infertility.

     "RESOLVE's HelpLine, Medical Call-In Hour, Physician
     Referral Services, Member to Member contact system and
     Family Building magazine, are focused on providing support to
     couples navigating the maze of infertility. We are here to help!
     Call our helpline today 888-623-0744 or email us at"
     "FertilityPlus is a non-profit website for patient information 
     on trying to conceive. We are not professionals, but rather 
     are providing information that is written by patients for 
     patients. Reader participation in some of our materials - 
     such as FAQs recalling personal experiences - is welcome."

[Eds.: If anyone has time to research these sites and write a
short summary, we would like to run it in AASWOMEN.]

From an older mother:
   I consulted a bigshot fertility specialist when trying 
   to have a baby at age 42. Some of the statistics he showed 
   me were drastically different from those presented in the 
   TIME article. The conventional definition of fertility is 
   whether or not a couple can conceive during a year of "trying" 
   (I'll leave the details to your imagination). Using this 
   definition, when the woman is in her 20's the fertility rate 
   is over 90%, when the woman is in her 30's the rate drops 
   slightly to approx 85%, and when the woman reaches age 40 
   the percentages drop very rapidly, by about half each year.
   This is why fertility doctors do not see younger women until 
   the couple has been trying for a year. That's a standard 
   question when you call for an appointment.  

   You can find an article (yr 2000) which quotes this paradigm 
   at the "Dr. Koop" website, on "How long does it take to get 
   In contrast, TIME said "fertility" peaks at age 27, and their
   graph showed a marked drop through the 30's. They must be using
   a different definition of "fertility", and/or they must be relying
   entirely on the numbers given by the one author they profile.
   I suspect Hewett's statistics may have been for the woman alone, 
   on a monthly basis.

   The admonition that we have a biological clock is a wise warning,
   but it is old news. And anyone who is trying to beat the odds,
   whether they are cancer survival rates or fertility rates, should
   bear in mind that you are an individual case, not a statistic.

From another woman over 40:
   Having spent a few years in fertility clinics, the statistic does 
   not surprise me. I probably have the numbers somewhere as to the 
   rate of successful pregnancies per in vitro fertilization. Basically 
   I think that women believe your chances of bearing children in your 
   40's is much better than it is. This is probably due to the high 
   profile fertility technology receives in the press and the 
   proliferation of success stories (news and hearsay) of women in 
   their 40's who have given birth. My impression is that most of 
   these women are 42 or younger. From what I have learned during 
   my tenure in the infertility clinic environment, I think you should 
   be pregnant by the time you are 42 to give birth successfully.

   You never hear of the failed pregnancies.  

   Certainly I thought my odds were much better. I now tell younger 
   women that I know in high pressure career fields how dismal the 
   odds are and how costly the process is (financially!, emotionally, 
   and it takes time -- I had shots 2x day for at least a week a 
   cycle not to mention the numerous 7am clinic visits each cycle, 
   and the numerous miscarriages).

2. Article profiles Megan Donahue, STScI astronomer

From Kristy Dyer

There's a very nice interview with Megan Donahue in the 
STScI Spring 2002 newsletter, where she talks about what 
got her interested in science, how she balances work with 
family and hobbies and where she reveals her dark past.

This should be available to everyone at

3. U.S. Delegation's report on IUPAP Conference on Women in Physics
   now available, and
   Discussion at June AAS meeting (and April APS/HEAD meeting)

From Aparna Venkatesan

As noted in recent issues of AASWOMEN, the International Union of Pure and
Applied Physics (IUPAP) held an International Conference on Women in
Physics last month (UNESCO, Paris, 7-9 March 2002). This meeting, the
first of its kind, was organized with two major purposes in mind: (1) to
understand the severe under-representation of women in physics and related
fields worldwide, and (2) to develop and implement strategies to increase
the participation and representation of women in physics. More than 300
participants from 67 countries attended the conference, including
physicists from academic institutions, national laboratories, industry,
and other sectors.

The U.S. delegation has prepared a report on the IUPAP meeting, which is
now available at "" under the "Women in
Science" section. This report is intended to serve as a means by which
to re-start a national dialogue about the status of women in physics in
the U.S. More information on the conference can be found at

In addition, there will be a presentation on the IUPAP meeting at the CSWA
session at the AAS meeting in Albuquerque this June, with a report by a
panel followed by open discussion. Panelists will include the three
astrophysicist members of the U.S. delegation: Meg Urry (Yale University),
Jennifer Sokoloski (Harvard University), and Aparna Venkatesan (University
of Colorado, Boulder).

[Ed. note: at the HEAD/APS meeting in Albuquerque, the IUPAP will be
discussed at the Networking Breakfast Sponsored by the APS Committee on
the Status of Women in Physics, Monday, April 22, 7-9 a.m.]

4. Letter from Sally Ride on science festival for girls

Forwarded from the Women in Aerospace listserv:

Hi!  A friend just forwarded me your WIA [Women in Aerospace]
email newsletter, and suggested that I let you ... know about an 
event my company has organized in the DC area for girls (middle 
school age) who are interested in science, math and engineering.

We're holding a "Community Science Festival" on Saturday, May 11, at
George Mason University. It's a day of fun for middle school girls
(parents also invited!) organized around science and technology.

I'll give the keynote, we'll have booths, exhibits (including from NASA,
Challenger Center, Veridian, HP, the Weather Channel, etc.), food, and
music. We'll also have workshops led by about 20 professional women in a
range of science and engineering fields. Veridian is our lead sponsor
for the event; Stellar Solutions, HP, IBM, Cox, and the Weather Channel
are also signed up as sponsors. The idea is that the girls hear me talk
about space; attend two workshops based on their interests, and have fun
with their friends at a street fair organized around cool science stuff.

We're expecting 600 to 800 participants (our most recent festival, at
Caltech in March, attracted over 800 enthusiastic girls and parents).
Your members (or their daughters, nieces, etc.!) can learn more and
register on-line at our Festival website:

Hope to see them out there!! (We're doing other things that WIA might
be interested in as well; happy to give you more information on those as

Thanks, and hope you'll share this with WIA.

Sally Ride

5. Women in Aerospace Space Policy Forum

Forwarded by Amy Simon-Miller

Women in Aerospace invites you to a "Space Policy Forum:
Priorities for 2002." ISS...SLI...commercial policy...
space nuclear power...the search for extraterrestrial life...
What's at the top of the space policy agenda for this year?
Representatives of NASA, Congress and the White House will 
address this question, and more. Please join WIA for a timely 
panel discussion, Wednesday, April 24, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m., 
in Room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office Building (Independence 
Ave. and S. Capitol St. SW, Washington D.C.). Reception 5:30-6:30, 
program 6:30-7:30.

Speakers include Jeff Bingham (Assoc. Administrator for Legislative 
Affairs at NASA), Brett Alexander (Senior Policy Analyst, Technology 
Division, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy),
Doug Comstock (Program Examiner, Science and Space Programs Branch,
White House Office of Management and Budget), Jean Toal Eisen
(Senior Professional Staff Member, Senate Commerce Subcommittee 
on Science, Technology and Space), and Bill Adkins (Majority Staff 
Director, House Science Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics),
and the panel moderator is Carissa Christensen (Managing Director, 
The Tauri Group).

This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited.
To RSVP, call 202/547-9451 or
For more information, call Linda Billings at 202/488-3500, x. 201.

6. Author seeks personal narratives from academics who have
   combined work and family

From Rachel Hile Bassett, Department of English, University 
of Kansas, via the Women in Physics listserv

I am seeking abstracts (~250 words) of personal narratives to be
considered for inclusion in "Alma Mater: Narratives of Motherwork
and the Academic Culture", a book of personal essays about the
challenges and rewards of combining parenting with an academic
career. The completed book will reflect the diversity of
contemporary academic culture, with a variety of perspectives,
ethnicities, academic disciplines, and parenting choices
represented. Essays from male academics who perform a
significant amount of "motherwork" are also welcomed. Your
abstract should convey a sense of your voice as a writer as 
well as covering the main ideas your narrative will address.

With your abstract, please include the following information: 
(1) whether your essay has been published before, and if so, 
if permission to reprint can be obtained; (2) estimated length 
of the complete narrative; (3) information about your academic 
rank (graduate student, lecturer, assistant professor, etc.), 
discipline, and affiliation; (4) information about your family 
(number of children, ages, whether you have a coparent, etc.); 
(5) whether you are willing to provide photographs of yourself 
in your roles as parent, academic, or both; and (6) contact 
information, including e-mail address.

Please send your abstract by May 24, 2002; you may e-mail it to or send it by regular mail to Rachel Hile Bassett,
Department of English, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66044. 
Feel free to forward this to others who may be interested.

7. Job in Theoretical Physics, Argonne National Laboratory,
   Physics Division
The Physics Division at Argonne National Laboratory invites
applications and nominations for a staff position in Theoretical
Physics with specialization in Nuclear Astrophysics and/or Nuclear
Structure, and relevance to research at a future rare isotope
accelerator. The rank of the position is at either Asst. Scientist
(Ph.D. plus two years Postdoc experience) or Scientist (Ph.D. 
plus 3-5 years experience) and will be commensurate with the
qualifications of the successful applicant. We are seeking 
candidates with an outstanding record of past accomplishments 
and exceptional promise for future growth in research. Applicants 
should submit a curriculum vitae, a list of publications, and 
a brief description of research interests and goals to:
	Susan M. Walker
	Argonne National Laboratory
	9700 S. Cass Avenue
	Box PHY-302620-40
	Argonne, IL 60439
	Fax: 620/252-9388
For additional technical information, contact:
	Craig Roberts
	Physics Division
	Argonne National Laboratory
	Argonne, IL 60439
	Fax: + 1 630 252 6008
Argonne is an equal opportunity employer.