AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Weekly issues of January 21, 2005
eds. Patricia Knezek, Jim Ulvestad, & Lisa Frattare
 
This week's issues:

1. Pasadena Recommendations - Introduction and Context

2. Harvard president makes a controversial speech - community responds

3. Obituary Links for Janet Mattei

4. 2004 Stanford Mentoring Workshop - Workshop Proceedings

5. Dorrit Hoffleit - 'Misfortunes as Blessings in Disguise' is amusing

6. Postdoctoral Fellow - Australian National University 
 
7. Postdoctoral Position in Theoretical Plasma Physics - Princeton Univ.

*** FOLLOWING POSITION WAS TAKEN FROM WIPHYS ***

8. Tenure Track Faculty Position, Theoretical Solar and Heliospheric 
   Physics, University of New Hampshire

9. How to submit, subscribe, or unsubscribe to AASWOMEN

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1. Pasadena Recommendations - Introduction and Context
From: AASWOMEN editors

Equity Now: The Pasadena Recommendations for Gender Equality in Astronomy
This document was endorsed by the American Astronomical Society (AAS) 
Council on Sunday January 9, 2005, in San Diego, CA. This work is a 
collaborative effort made by many attendees of the "Women in Astronomy 
II: Ten Years After" meeting held in June 2003 in Pasadena with input 
and comments from the entire astronomical community.  This document was 
presented to the members of the AAS Council by the 2003-2004 board 
members of the AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy.  
Further information on implementing these recommendations may be found 
on our website: http://www.aas.org/~cswa 

"The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn,  
but to unlearn." -- Gloria Steinem

Guiding Principles  
- Women and men are equally talented and deserve equal opportunity. 
- Full participation of men and women will maximize excellence in the 
field. 
- The measure of equal opportunity is outcome, i.e., gender equity will 
have been attained when the percentage of women in the next level of 
advancement equals the percentage in the pool. 
- Long-term change requires periodic evaluation of progress and 
consequent action to address areas where improvement is necessary. 

Context 
The Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA) was 
established in 1972 by the American Astronomical Society to monitor the 
status of women in the field of astronomy and recommend changes to 
improve it. In 1992, a seminal meeting on Women in Astronomy was held 
in Baltimore, Maryland. This conference led to the Baltimore Charter 
for Women in Astronomy, which offered a rationale for and steps toward 
gender equity in astronomy. The Baltimore Charter was based on input 
from the astronomical community, and the American Astronomical Society 
endorsed its goals in January 1994. In the ensuing decade many 
institutions recognized that there are impediments to the success of 
women in science and have developed strategies to increase diversity. 
The Committee is encouraged by the progress that has been made but 
recognizes that major inequalities still exist. Consequently, a second 
meeting on Women in Astronomy was held in Pasadena, California, in June 
2003. Participants assessed the progress for women in science, offered 
insights into causes of the slower advancement of women, and discussed 
strategies to accelerate the achievement of equality.  

Approximately one fourth of professional astronomers are women, and the 
field continues to attract women and benefit from their participation. 
However, the data show that women are still less likely to advance than 
their male colleagues. Future progress toward parity demands that the 
field evaluate itself periodically and implement changes based on the 
latest demographic data and the most successful solutions. Therefore, 
the Committee, with input from both the Pasadena meeting participants 
and the larger community, offers a new set of recommendations for 
progress. These recommendations emphasize the academic sector because 
of its unique influence on the future of the field. The Committee 
understands, however, that these problems are not limited to either 
academia or astronomy and calls on all scientists to work together 
toward equality. Finally, the Committee advocates that the strategies 
developed for the sake of encouraging gender equality be adapted to 
address the even slower advancement of minority scientists.  

This document continues astronomy's proud tradition of community 
attention to women's issues and the formation of a consensus set of 
recommendations. Without continued positive action, progress toward 
diversity could halt or even reverse. Together, astronomers can improve 
the diversity of the community, draw on a broader talent pool, and thus 
remove impediments to achieving excellence in science.  

Major Areas of Concern and Subsequent Recommendations
The following are specific areas of concern and possible recommendations 
to help improve gender equality in these areas through various methods. 
The individual areas include: A. Tenure-Track Hiring, B. Career Advancement 
and Recognition, C. Institutional Policies, D. Varied Career Paths, 
E. Cultural Issues, and F. Statistical Information.  

[Individual sections will be visited in subsequent AASWOMEN issues.- Eds.]

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2. Harvard president makes a controversial speech - community responds

[The following items reflect the community response to recent comments 
made by Harvard president Lawrence Summers. Thanks to Jennifer Hoffman 
(Berkeley) for bringing the WISELI website to our attention. The 
submissions that follow are Letters to the Editor of the New York Times 
in response to an article that first appeared on 1/18/2005. The original 
article is available at the following url. 
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/18/national/18harvard.html?ex=1107059931&ei=1&en=7e6780f5c9b033d8]
- Eds.]

The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Women In Science & Engineering 
Leadership Institute (WISELI) has created an encompassing website that 
compiled press coverage and recent developments into an easily 
navigable reverse-chronological list.  This list is updated daily and 
includes Summers' letter of apology, Virginia Valian's essay, and 
numerous editor responses: http://wiseli.engr.wisc.edu/news/Summers.htm

**************************
From: Meg Urry meg.urryyale.edu 

[Submitted to the New York Times - Eds.]

To the Editor:
According to your report, "Harvard Chief Defends His Talk on Women" 
(Jan 18), Larry Summers, President of Harvard University, suggested 
the scarcity of women in science might arise because women do not 
want to work long hours or because they are less able than men. 

As leader of the U.S. delegation to the 2002 International Meeting 
on Women in Physics sponsored by the International Union of Pure 
and Applied Physics, I can provide some information of which Summers 
appears to be unaware.  The vast discrepancies between the percentages 
of scientists who are women even among advanced countries with similar 
educational systems, such as Germany and France, show that societal 
factors play the most significant role in determining who becomes a 
scientist. 

Though president of a prestigious institution, Summers appears to 
be unfamiliar with the abundant research in this area, some of it 
carried out by his own faculty (e.g., Mahzarin Banaji, who has worked 
extensively in the area of implicit bias, or Gerhard Sonnert and 
Gerald Holton, who studied career advancement of top scientists). 
For example, differences between men and women in mathematical test 
scores vanish when test-takers are simply told the exam is gender 
neutral ("Mind Over Math" Washington Post, June 10, 2001; also STATUS 
Jan 2003). Nor do hours worked correlate with career success. Numerous 
experiments over the last three decades show overwhelmingly that 
sociological factors dominate any measured disparities between women 
and men.

Summers's remarks are at odds with the views of university leaders 
at peer institutions, particularly the nine (including Harvard's 
then-Provost) who met in 2001 and 2004 to address this issue ("9 
Universities Will Address Sex Inequities" NY Times, January 31, 2001). 
In a joint communique they acknowledged that "barriers still exist 
to the full participation of women in science and engineering" and 
pledged to work actively toward greater diversity. (Summers missed 
the subsequent meeting, the only one that has occurred during his 
tenure at Harvard.) 

Raising provocative questions is certainly a valid intellectual 
activity. Ignoring research that has already been done, however, 
is an embarrassment in a prominent scholar-leader. If President 
Summers cares about increasing diversity, he should make the effort 
to become aware that implicit discrimination is alive and well, and 
is apparently keeping his institution from being as excellent as it 
could be. 

Meg Urry
Professor of Physics
Yale University

**************************
From: Evalyn Gates egatesadlernet.org

The academic community has long realized that it has a problem  -
there are far too few women and minorities among the science faculty, 
especially at the top research institutions.  What they haven't yet 
figured out is what to do about it.  

The percent of women in fields such as physics decreases with each 
successive rung in the academic ladder.  In 2001, only 22% of 
Bachelor's degrees in physics majors were awarded to women, while 
less than 5% of physics faculty at the top 50 research institutions 
are female.

However, the problem begins long before women enter college - the 
number of girls entering college who even consider majoring in 
physics is already small.

While most concerned academics have struggled to find ways to 
modify this number, Harvard President Lawrence Summers has already 
succeeded. Unfortunately for all of us, his statements will only 
make the problem worse.  

Let's start with the science. Whether or not there are biological 
differences between the sexes that have any effect on ability or 
interest in math and science, there is a wealth of solid research 
that shows conclusively that cultural and social influences completely 
swamp any such differences.  

To put this into perspective, consider that Summers's hypothesis -
that perhaps there are so few women in science because of innate 
gender-based differences - would suggest that he also encourages 
the study of race-based differences in scientific ability. 

After all, the evidence presented to suggest this might be true for 
women (their severe underrepresentation in science, certain biological 
differences including response to medical treatments, and under- 
performance on certain standardized tests) is also true for African 
Americans. In fact, race seems to trump gender since the gap between 
American boys and Japanese girls on standardized math tests (Japanese
girls far outperform the American boys) is much larger than the gap 
between American boys and girls. 

This kind of reasoning is not only repugnant, it is also sloppy 
thinking and bad science, ignoring the research which clearly 
demonstrates the overwhelming impact of social and cultural 
influences on the performance, evaluation, and aspirations of 
boys and girls of all races. 

What is so disturbing about Summers's remarks is that research has 
also shown that the performance and evaluation of students depends 
strongly upon the expectation of their teachers, their community 
and the students themselves. When told that a particular math test 
would reveal gender-based differences in the scores, female college 
students with strong math abilities scored lower than their male 
counterparts. Those who were told that the test results were 
usually gender neutral scored the same as the men.  Summers's 
comments serve to reinforce what too many people believe, deep 
inside, to be true - that men are innately better at math and 
science - and this will have very real effects on young girls.

The flurry of media attention Summers's remarks has received has 
only served to further promote this view.  A google search of 
Lawrence Summers on January 19 returned a page with 16 links.  
Roughly one-third were critical of Summers, while one-third were 
strongly supportive of his statements, saying that it was about 
time the academic community recognized that men and women are 
different and that women are just not as good at or as interested 
in math and science. The remaining third were somewhat neutral, 
but all claimed it was good that he had started the "debate".  

Is it? Remember that much of the public reads only headlines, and 
that if something is repeated often enough it is assumed to be true 
by too many people - including parents and teachers of young girls. 
A sampling of titles culled from various publications should chill 
the blood of anyone concerned about this issue.
"Men naturally better at Science, Maths: Harvard professor"
"Harvard head says male scientists the best"
"Harvard president: Why women are poor at science"
"Untie your knickers - innate differences, are, well, real"

Finally, rather than opening a "debate", the backlash against women 
who are speaking out against Summers's remarks has made it seem as 
though we've been sent back in time about 30 years. As the Boston 
Herald put it:  "Harvard president scolded" and "Hysteria at Harvard 
over Larry talk goes right off the shrill meter."  MIT professor 
Nancy Hopkins, who prompted the MIT study in 1999 that found very 
real, very specific instances of discrimination against female faculty 
members, such as amount of lab space and teaching assignments, was 
described as walking out of Summers's talk "in a huff", and one 
commentator suggested that if Hopkins was representative of women 
scientists it was a good thing we have so few of them.

Would we ask our African American colleagues to sit quietly through 
a discussion of how African Americans are biologically more or less 
suited to certain activities or talents? 

Evalyn Gates
Senior Research Associate
Dept. of Astronomy & Astrophysics
University of Chicago

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3. Obituary Links for Janet Mattei

[Thank you to Michael Rupen (NRAO) for forwarding several links to 
obituaries for astronomer and AAVSO director, Janet Mattei. Michael 
adds, "...the outpouring of grief at her death was very moving; 
she seems to have been a major inspiration to a great many people." - Eds.]

AAVSO Website - Extensive Tribute to Janet Mattei
http://www.aavso.org/aavso/membership/mattei.shtml
Individual Obituaries to Janet Mattei:
 Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society 
(2004, Vol. 36, No. 5, page 1681)(also linked at 
http://www.aavso.org/aavso/membership/jamobitaas.pdf)
 Physics Today January 2005 Vol. 55 (subscription required)   
http://www.physicstoday.org/vol-58/iss-1/contents.html#obit
   
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4. 2004 Stanford Mentoring Workshop - Workshop Proceedings
From: Mary Kay Hemenway marykayastro.as.utexas.edu

In June 2004 a workshop on Mentoring in Engineering was held at 
Stanford with the joint support of the Presidential Award for 
Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring 
(PAESMEM, administered by the NSF and funded by the White House) 
and the Stanford School of Engineering. The two day workshop 
brought together graduate students and all levels of faculty for 
presentations and discussions on the needs, goals, methods, and 
best practices for mentoring students, junior faculty, and mid
level faculty for academic careers. The emphasis was on mentoring 
members of underrepresented groups in academic engineering, 
especially women, but most of the topics are common to all 
interested in academic engineering careers.

The full Workshop Proceedings are available at the workshop 
website http://paesmem.stanford.edu/ in both pdf and html format.

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5. Dorrit Hoffleit - 'Misfortunes as Blessings in Disguise' is amusing

[Thanks to John Leibacher (NSO) for pointing to a note Dorrit 
Hoffleit wrote about her current activities for "The Classes" 
section of Harvard Magazine (January-February 2005).  It says:
Dorrit Hoffliet, Ph.D. '38 writes, "At the age of 97-plus I 
am doing a lot of volunteer work at the Yale department of 
astronomy, largely on the twentieth-century history of astronomy.  
The American Association of Variable Star Observers persuaded 
me to write my autobiography, entitled 'Misfortunes as Blessings 
in Disguise,' published in 2002. My friends call it 'amusing!'"

Also note that Karen Kwitter maintains a website dedicated to 
Dorrit with notes from some of her Maria Mitchell Observatory 
summer research students, see: 
http://www.williams.edu/astronomy/CSWA/Hoffleit.html  - Eds.]

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6. Postdoctoral Fellow - Australian National University 
From: Theresa Gallagher terrymso.anu.edu.au

Three-year fixed term position Australian National University Research 
School of Astronomy and Astrophysics 

The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics (RSAA) invites 
applications for a Postdoctoral Fellow to work on near-infrared 
integral-field spectroscopy studies of star formation, active 
galactic nuclei, super-massive black holes, or the dynamics of 
high redshift galaxies. The successful candidate will work with 
Dr Peter McGregor and Prof Ken Freeman or Prof Michael Dopita on 
projects using the new Near-infrared Integral Field Spectrograph 
(NIFS) with the ALTAIR adaptive optics system on the Gemini North 
8-m diameter telescopes.  NIFS is being developed at RSAA for the 
Gemini Observatory by a team led by Dr Peter McGregor. RSAA operates 
Siding Spring Observatory and RSAA staff have access to all of 
Australia's optical/IR and radio facilities including the Gemini 
telescopes, the Anglo-Australian Telescope, the Australia Telescope 
Compact Array, and the ANU Supercomputing Facility. Both observational 
and computational / theoretical candidates are encouraged to apply. 

Candidates should possess a Ph.D. in astronomy or a related field and 
have expertise in one or more of the following areas: observational 
optical/IR spectroscopy, data reduction, emission-line formation, 
galaxy dynamics. Salary Range:  $AUD52,863 - $AUD56,569 pa plus 
generous 17% superannuation and relocation allowance. Selection 
documentation must be obtained prior to application and may be 
obtained from: academic.services.rsaaanu.edu.au. Candidates should 
arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent to: 
academic.services.rsaaanu.edu.au by the closing date. 

Enquiries about the position:  
Dr Peter McGregor
T: +61 2 6125 8033
email: Peter.McGregoranu.edu.au. 
Closing date:  Friday 4 March 2005. 
The ANU is an equal opportunity employer.
 
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7. Postdoctoral Position in Theoretical Plasma Physics - Princeton Univ.
From: Jill Knapp gkastro.princeton.edu

The Department of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University 
invites applicants for a postdoctoral research position in theoretical 
plasma physics. The project involves practical laboratory applications 
of intense waves in plasma, both in the radio frequency and optical
regimes. The successful applicant will have a recently-obtained Ph.D.
and a strong background in nonlinear effects associated with intense
waves in plasma, Hamiltonian dynamics, statistical mechanics, and
chaotic systems.   Particularly desirable would be research experience
in the theory and computation of wave-induced barriers. The expected
starting date is June 1, 2005.

Appointments are for one year, renewable for one further year based on
satisfactory performance and availability of funds. Applicants should
sent a curriculum vitae, bibliography and statement of research
interests, and arrange to have three letters of recommendation sent to
the address listed below by April 1, 2005.  Late applications and
letters of recommendation will be returned unread.  EEO/AAE 
For information about applying to Princeton, please link to:
http://web.princeton.edu/sites/dof/ApplicantsInfo.htm  

Send application documents to:
Theoretical Plasma Physics Postdoc Search
Attn: Prof. Nathaniel J. Fisch
Department of Astrophysical Sciences
114 Peyton Hall
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ  08544

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8. Tenure Track Faculty Position, Theoretical Solar and Heliospheric 
   Physics, University of New Hampshire
>From WIPHYS of 19 January 2005

The Department of Physics and the Space Science Center within the
Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space at the University
of New Hampshire, seek candidates at any rank for a joint
tenure-track faculty position in Theoretical Solar and Heliospheric
Physics, or in the broad area of Astrophysical Plasma Physics with
emphasis on the Sun.

This position could begin as early as the 2005-2006 academic year.
The applicant must have a Ph.D. or equivalent in Physics,
Astronomy or Astrophysics, at least 5 years of postdoctoral
experience, a strong commitment to teaching, and a demonstrated
record of independent research and support. Responsibilities
include teaching physics courses at all levels, participation in
Department, College, and Institute academic activities, and leading
a strong theoretical research program. Out-standing applicants in
all areas of space plasma physics will be considered, but particular
consideration will be given to applicants with strong experience in
solar and heliospheric theory and modeling.

The Physics Department has twenty tenure-track faculty and offers
programs leading to the B.S., B.A., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees; the
Institute spans a broad range of research in Earth and Space science
and has 64 faculty on both research and tenure tracks. The
University is a Land Grant, Sea Grant and Space Grant institution
with approximately 13,000 under-graduate and graduate students.
At the University, we are committed to promoting an atmosphere
that is diverse enough to be intellectually and socially enriching for
students, faculty, and staff. Please see http://www.eos.unh.edu/
and http://www.ceps.unh.edu/ .

Send letter of application, curriculum vitae, statement of research,
and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of three references
to: Professor Roy Torbert, Director, Space Science Center, 39
College Road, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space,
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824-3525.
Interviews of the applicants will begin in Spring 2005 and will
continue until the position is filled.

The University of New Hampshire is committed to excellence
through diversity among its faculty and strongly encourages women
and minorities to apply.

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