Date: Thu, 2 May 2002 22:04:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: AASWOMEN for May 3, 2002

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Weekly issue of 05/03/02, eds. Meg Urry & Patricia Knezek

This week's issues:

1. Another take on the controversy caused by Sylvia Hewlett's book
2. A report from a successful mother despite her "advanced maternal age"
3. Science and Technology Policy Internship Announcement  
4. ENews for Working Women Launched by US Dept of Labor
5. Call for Papers for the SSGRR-2002S (Summer) conference on "Infrastructure for 
   e-Business, e-Education, e-Science, and e-Medicine" 
6. SKA Program Leader Job Ad
1. Another take on the controversy caused by Sylvia Hewlett's book
From: Dr. Jacqueline Ward

>> 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: Andrea Schweitzer
>I wondered about that, too!
>There were 14% who knew themselves well enough at 20 to say that they
>did not want to have children"??? I couldn't have accurately defined my future
>plans while I was still in college.  Back then, I wanted to do everything!
I think that this is actually one of the points.  At a time when many women are 
planning their futures (after college), very few women (14%) made the 'definite'
decision to be childless.   So, of 100 women who ended up with no children, only 14 
planned it that way from early on (after college).   But, a large majority (86%) left
the door open when they were quite young (after college), probably thinking that they 
could leave that door open till they were in their late 30s/early 40s.   Certainly
some portion of the 86% may have decided at some other point to remain childless.  I 
think that the point here is not necessarily that they could not conceive because
of infertility alone, but that messages to women about their ability to conceive later 
in life may have played a role (and this is just one of many).  Hewlett's book also
highlights other cultural factors:

Hewlett's research reveals a host of circumstances that have conspired to produce 
brutal trade-offs in the lives of professional women: America's long-hours corporate 
culture, a stubbornly traditional division of labor at home, and a fertility industry 
that lulls women into a false sense that they can get pregnant deep into middle age? 
(from the Publisher at B&N website).

And, I must say that having children in one's life is nothing like having children.  

Dr. Jacqueline S. S. Ward

Lecturer, Dept. of Mathematics
California State University, Long Beach
2. A report from a successful mother despite her "advanced maternal age"
From: Heidi B. Hammel

I'm almost embarrassed to post this, having heard the pain and frustration in some 
of the previous posts. But I feel there should be *some* counter-balance to the 
depressing statistics and messages about decreasing fertility with age, especially 
for younger women who might be reading this.

At 36, I got married and 4 months later got pregnant. At 38, it only took 3 months 
to conceive Baby#2. At 40, Baby#3 was conceived in just one cycle! Now that I am 42, 
I am warning my husband to not even *look* at me during that susceptable time! Okay, 
just kidding about that last one. But the point is, I read these reports and just
can't relate. (All three of my babies were full-term; the pregnancies were problem-free 
in spite of my "advanced maternal age.")

Most of my kids' friends have mothers who are in their 40's, too.  Maybe it is because 
the kids all go to the same high-quality (read: high-cost) daycare, so all the moms 
and dads are fairly well-advanced careerwise, which might self-select older moms?  In 
the gym where I work out, I know several women who are also "blooming" though 
definitely not in the first blush of youth.

So just remember, sure there's a trend, but there's a distribution around that trend, 
too. "No statistic is perfect, but some are less imperfect than others. Good or bad, 
every statistic reflects its creators' choices." (Joel Best, Damned Lies and 
Statistics, University of California Press, 2001). My take was similar to that of the 
Guardian's writer - it seemed like a scare story to me, given my experience and daily 
interactions with many older mothers like me.

Sorry for the anecdotal nature of this message, but I hope it gave some reassurance 
that choosing to focus on your career for many years doesn't necessarily exclude 
having a family at a later date.

3. Science and Technology Policy Internship Announcement  
From: Amy Simon-Miller


This Internship Program of the National Academies--consisting of the
National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of 
Medicine, and National Research Council--is designed to engage graduate and 
postdoctoral students in science and technology policy and to familiarize 
them with the interactions among science, technology, and government. As a 
result, students--in the fields of science, engineering, medicine, veterinary
medicine, business, and law--develop essential skills different from those 
attained in academia, which will help them make the transition from being a 
graduate student to a professional.

We are pleased to announce a new fall 2002 program session--expanding our
program beyond its current summer and winter sessions. The fall 2002
program will take place from September 9 until November 27, 2002.

To apply, candidates should submit an application and request their mentor
fill out a reference form. Both are available on the Web at The deadline for receipt of
materials is June 1. Additional details about the program and how to join 
our mailing list are also available on the Web site. Questions should be 
directed to:

Here is what four former interns said about the program:

"This is an important career building opportunity for people interested in
the scientific community outside academia. Even if you plan to pursue a
traditional academic track, seeing science from a policy perspective is very
enlightening. There is something valuable in this experience for first year 
grad students to recent PhDs"

4. ENews for Working Women Launched by US Dept of Labor

>From WIPHYS posting of 05/01/02:

The U.S. Department of Labor has started an electronic newsletter to expand 
communications with women in the workforce. The newsletter is posted on the 
Departments Women's Bureau website at The first issue 
focuses on women and technology, with initiatives such as GEM_SET, a mentor 
program that matches young girls with successful women in science,
engineering, and technology careers (thanks to AWIS for calling our attention 
to this site their Washington Wire! AWIS, the Association for Women in Science, 
can be found at

5. Call for Papers for the SSGRR-2002S (Summer) conference on "Infrastructure for 
   e-Business, e-Education, e-Science, and e-Medicine" 

>From WIPHYS posting of 05/01/02:

Dear Women,

I have been appointed to serve as the General Chair of the Summer 2002 edition of 
the SSGRR series of international conferences, and I would like to extend a special 
invitation to you.

The SSGRR-2002S (Summer) conference on "Infrastructure for e-Business, e-Education, 
e-Science, and e-Medicine" takes place in SSGRR (Scuola Superiore G. Reiss Romoli), 
the delux congress and educational center of the Telecom Italia Group of companies. 
This is in L'Aquila near Rome, Italy, from July 29 (Monday) at 5pm (start of the 
Grand Opening) till August 4 (Sunday) at 10am.  

The SSGRR-2002S will be open by Jerome Friedman from MIT (laureate of the NOBEL 
PRIZE) and Travor Gruen-Kennedy of Citrix (listed by some sources, together with 
Bill Gates, as one of the world's TOP-25 contributors to the development of the
Internet). For details, see the WWW site of the conference
( Among other things, this WWW site also 
includes the full-blown version of the invitation letter-contract, with all relevant 
details (

The soft deadline for you to decide if you are coming is May 25, 2002 (in the worst 
case you should respond before May 31st). By that date the place for you is 
unconditionally reserved. After that date, you will be accepted to the conference 
only if the existing 240 places are not filled.

Before May 25, 2002, please send only the following: (a) TITLE, (b) AUTHORS, 
like "maybe" will be treated as NO answer from you). The full paper is due on June 
10, 2002.

The early registration price for the 6-day stay at SSGRR is EURO1200 (if you 
represent an institution) or EURO1440 (if you come as an individual). Coming without 
a paper costs you extra EURO600 or EURO720, respectively. Deadline for the early
registration is June 30, 2002. If you come with an accompanying person, the early 
registration extra cost is EURO300, for 6 days of bed and breakfast, in an external 
hotel please note that the best external hotels are 4-star, and not nearly as 
comfortable as the accommodation in the SSGRR complex). The SSGRR complex includes 
only single-bed rooms, and therefore available only to those who come without an 
accompanying person.

If you have any questions, please check the WWW site of the conference and especially 
the part entitled FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). If you still have questions or 
there is something that we can do for you, please write to Organizing Committee at (preferred) or if absolutely necessary, to myself 
directly (

Sincerely yours,
Professor V. M. Milutinovic,
General Chair of the SSGRR-2002S

P.S. Please let us know if you like to be invited to the Winter edition of the year 
2003 (SSGRR-2003W) to be held in the same place from January 6, 2003 at 5pm till 
January 12, 2003 at 10am.  If you wish not to receive again information about the 
SSGRR conferences, please let us know, and we will remove your name from our list.


1. We invite participants from three groups:
     A: Researchers from the list of the most referenced scientists
     B: VIPs of successful high-tech companies
     C: Young talent (according to the criteria of the Organizing Committee)
   We try to maximize the synergistic interaction among these 3 groups.
2. Your presentation is 25 minutes, plus 5 minutes for discussion and the change of 
3. The author of the LAST paper in the session is the session chairman, so he/she is 
   motivated to respect the timing.  The slots of the non-show-up papers are to be 
   used for extra discussions. Moving of presentation slots is NOT permitted.
4. Timing of the session is given on the WWW site of the conference.
5. More information on the SSGRR center is given on the WWW site of the conference.
6. Transportation related information, on July 29 from Tiburtina station in Rome to 
   SSGRR in L'Aquila, and on August 4 from L'Aquila to Tiburtina station and Fiumicino 
   airport is given in the conference WWW site (pay attention to FAQ).
7. Details of the food schedule, social program, and all other relevant details are 
   also given on the WWW site of the conference.

6. SKA Program Leader Job Ad
From: Sarah Maddison

The Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing has received
significant State and Federal funding to pursue research into the next
generation radio telescope to be known as the Square Kilometre Array.
Partners include the Australia Telescope National Facility and Sydney
University. The Centre will be constructing several large-scale
supercomputers. These will undertake simulations of likely SKA
configurations and source counts/distributions, and processing baseband
radio data to develop new algorithms for RFI excision. We will
demonstrate more accurate pulsar timing/searching methodologies, and
develop software correlators of relevance to the SKA. These will assist in
establishing the true dynamic range of the instrument, and aid in the
development of very flexible baseband processing systems.

This supercomputers will be deployed both at Swinburne and Australia's
major radio telescopes for baseband processing. The successful candidate
will be responsible for coordinating the Swinburne effort, which will
involve several postdoctoral positions and students, and is expected to
take an active role in the research. 50% of the salary for this position
is being provided by Swinburne University so that the candidate can also
pursue their own independent research, preferably in some aspect of radio
astronomy or related theory.

The Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing is one of Australia's most
rapidly-growing research centres, with over 30 staff and students
undertaking research into a broad range of astrophysical areas. It has a
strong role in public outreach and education, and is currently developing
a teraflop supercomputing facility.

For a full position description, see

5 year appointment, applications close May 7