AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of May 26, 2006
eds. Patricia Knezek, Jim Ulvestad, & Joan Schmelz

This week's issues:

1. Nominations for AAS Prizes and Awards

2. New AIP Report Out on Women in Physics

3. Chronicle Article: The Chemistry Between Women and Science

4. Women Math Professors

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

1. Nominations for AAS Prizes and Awards
From: Vera Rubin (rubindtm.ciw.edu)

The letter below is a copy of the letter I sent on Aug. 2, 2004
to AAS Women.  However, I have updated the count to include
AAS awards in 2005 and 2006.  Note that the data are female/male,
not female/all. Note also how awful the results are.

My request that we all nominate women did not produce any
obvious results, so I have a new plan. I will attempt to
nominate a woman for each of the prizes that the AAS awards.
I could use help mostly in identifying outstanding candidates.
Especially the young ones.

Please send me privately, by e-mail to rubindtm.ciw.edu, 
names of women who are worthy of prizes (and there are many!) 
and any words that you think will help in the nomination.
[NOTE: Names sent to AASWOMEN will be forwarded privately to
Vera Rubin and will NOT be published. --eds.]
Names of those who could send supporting letters would help 
enormously, also.  The AAS prizes are:

      Russell (lifetime achievement)
      Pierce (early career, observer)
      Warner (early, obs or theoretical, but none of my obs.
              candidates have been successful.  No woman since
              Margaret Burbidge in 1959! PLEASE HELP).
      Tinsley (innovative research)
      Weber (instrumentation)
      Heineman (mid-career)
      Van Biesbroeck (extraordinary service)

PLEASE HELP by nominating women, or by sending suggestions,
as soon as possible.  The deadline for nominations to reach
the AAS Secretary is 1 October 2006, but it's not too early
to start now.

  PRIZE WINNERS         Female/Male       Female/All
  TOTAL  1975-2006      14/162=0.086      14/176=0.080

(Repeat of submission from 2004 follows, with addition of 
2005-06 statistics):

The recent call for nominations for AAS prizes, coupled with email
correspondence with Tammy Smecker-Hane, has promted me to compile
some statistics about past AAS prizes. The AAS currently awards 8
science and education prizes.  None of these are restricted by
SCIENTISTS; 3 OF THESE WENT TO WOMEN.  3/64=4%. These three
women were awarded the Pierce prize.  In the last 10 years, no woman
has been awarded one of the other 7 prizes. The Pierce Prize is
"early career, observational"; the Warner  Prize is "early
career, observational or theoretical". I do not know how the
committee decides between these two for a deserving young
observer.  Certainly it should not be on the basis of sex.
The detailed counts are in Table 1 below.

In 1990, 20.4% of US PhD degrees in Astronomy went to Women
(NSF 96-311).  In 2000, 25% (now tabulated as US citizens and
permanent residents) were awarded Astronomy degrees (35/139:
NFS 03-300). For earlier years,  only "Physical Sciences" are
tabulated: 1970, 5.8%; 1980, 12.8%; 1990, 18.8% (NSF 00-327).
So it is not that the numbers of women astronomers were too small.

One solution to increase this deplorable statistic is to encourage
each of you to nominate a woman for a prize. It is obvious that the
number of deserving women exceeds the number of prizes. Even if
only some of us do this, the committees should get the message,
and the women should get the prizes.

           Table 1. Female/Male Prize Awardees

   Prize      1975-84        1985-94     1995-2004       2005/6

  Russell      2/8            1/9           0/10          0/2
  Pierce       0/11           2/7           3/7           0/2
  Warner       0/11           0/10          0/10          0/2
  Tinsley      ---            1/5           0/7           0/1
  Weber        ---            ---           0/3           0/2
  Heineman     0/5            1/9           0/10          0/3
  Van B.       1/5            2/7           0/10          0/1
  Education    ---            ---           0/4           1/1

               3/40           7/47          3/61          1/14

It requires time and effort to submit an application, but the
system won't run fairly if many of us do not participate. Having
your candidate win a prize is almost as good as getting it yourself.

Vera Rubin


2. New AIP Report Out on Women in Physics
From: Amy Simon-Miller (Amy.SimonNASA.gov)

Findings from a study conducted by Rachel Ivie were released today:

Women Physicists Speak Again

by Rachel Ivie, Stacy Guo

"More than 1350 women physicists from more than 70 countries
responded to a survey designed to elicit information about their
educational backgrounds, careers, the balance between work and
family, and opinions about physics as a career. The survey was
conducted in conjunction with the Second International Conference
of Women in Physics in 2005. The report includes data on degrees
awarded to women in about twenty countries."

Link to the report:

3. Chronicle Article: The Chemistry Between Women and Science
From: Keivan Stassun (keivan.stassunvanderbilt.edu)

This article, "The Chemistry Between Women & Science" is
available online at this address:


This article will be available to non-subscribers of The
Chronicle for up to five days after it is e-mailed.

The article is always available to Chronicle subscribers at this


4. Women Math Professors
From: WIPHYS of May 22, 23, and 24, 2006

[The following discussion thread comes from multiple editions 
of WIPHYS. -- eds.]

**** From May 22, 2006 WIPHYS ****

As reported by Rick Reis (2006) in  Tomorrow's Professor, Message #717, "Proof
and Prejudice: Women in Mathematics," Lisa Trie (2006) in the "Stanford Report
of 15 February 2006 wrote: "According to [Londa] Schiebinger, women earn 46
percent of undergraduate math degrees in this country but represent only 8
percent of math professors."

I relayed a portion of Trei's report to Math-Learn, Phys-L, PhysLrnR, POD, and
RUME, including the above statement attributed to Schiebinger.   But in a
recent RUME (Research in Undergraduate Mathematics) post Cathy Kessel (2006),
President-Elect of the Association for Women in Mathematics
(http://www.awm-math.org/), wrote [bracketed by lines "KKKKKKKKKK. . . ."; my
CAPS; slightly edited]:


In mathematics departments, tenure-eligible college faculty members are 31%
female, other full-time faculty members are 47% female, and  tenured faculty
members are 17% female (Lutzer, Maxwell, & Rodi,  2002). In the "top 10"
mathematics departments, there are  approximately 300 tenured faculty members;
16 of them are female (Jackson, 2004).

Somewhat related is the episode of "The Simpsons" that is supposed to air on
April 30 is called "Girls Just Want to Have Sums" and is to discuss women in
mathematics: (http://www.mathsci.appstate.edu/~sjg/simpsonsmath//sums.html).

And on Apr 26 19:10:08 EDT 2006, Patricia Hale, in the Math Dept. at Cal Poly
Pomona posted on the RUME list:  "Another possibility is that [Schiebinger]
simply meant only 8% of  full professors.  The AMS data for 2004 indicates
that 16% of tenured  faculty are women (combining Groups I, II, III, Va, M &
B).  I am  pretty sure the percentage for full professors is lower than the
percentage for Associate and Full combined."

Londa Schiebinger has not responded to a 26 April 2006 request for
clarification. I wonder if anyone has any further ideas on what Londa
Schiebinger might have meant?

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics
Indiana University

Hake, R.R. 2006."Proof and Prejudice: Women in Mathematics and 
Physics," online at 
Post of 23 Apr 2006 16:23:26-0700 to Math-Learn, Phys-L, PhysLrnR, POD, and

Reis, R. 2006. Tomorrow's Professor, Message #717, "Proof and Prejudice: Women
in Mathematics," 21 April, to be online at
(http://ctl.stanford.edu/Tomprof/postings/717.html)  Discussion of  posts is
at the "Tomorrow's Professor Blog"  (http://amps-tools.mit.edu/tomprofblog/).

Trie, L. 2006. "Biases must be tackled to achieve gender equity in
mathematics, scholars argue." Stanford Report, 15 February; online at

Whatever the exact percentages are (e.g., the subject of this and earlier
emails), the essential message is that things are better for women than they
were twenty, twenty-five, or thirty years ago, BUT they are still not all that
great. While the number of women and the percentage of women earning B.A.
degrees in mathematics are both up, and the number of women with tenure-track
positions at research institutions is indeed higher than it was, there is
still a huge disparity. It is still true that, given the same age and ability
level, women are more likely to get a master's degree, leave and take a
teaching position at a school or community college, while men are more likely
to get a Ph.D. and secure a teaching position at a regional university.
Biology is a factor, but it isn't the whole story, by a long chalk. Many of
the pressures are insidious, subtle, and not measurable. 
My daughter's experience is totally different from mine (she's 27, very
bright, not a mathematician, has gone to elite east coast universities--the
rules really are different there...); she doesn't have the same pressures I
had to get married, support a husband, produce babies, etc., and for this I'm
extremely grateful. And still, the fact is that if you go to the meeting of a
state community college mathematics association (e.g., an AMATYC affiliate),
the population is still primarily female; if you go to the meeting of a state
or regional MAA section, which attracts mostly mathematics faculty from
regional (non-research I) universities, the population is still mostly male. 
I realize I am making broad generalizations here. I would suggest, however,
that there is more driving this than biology....
Cheers, Lillie 

**** From May 23, 2006 WIPHYS ****

In response to the statement about 8% of math profs being female [WIPHYS
5/22/06]: that probably comes from the Nelson Diversity Surveys, which look 
at the top 50 departments in terms of federal research dollars (see
http://cheminfo.chem.ou.edu/faculty/djn/diversity/mathdiv.html). The 2001 
math numbers yield 173 women out of 2083, or 8.3%. Full profs:  64/1403; 
Assoc: 50/379; Asst: 59 /301. Of those women, 134 are white, 30 are Asian, 
7 are Hispanic, 2 are black, and none are Native American.

Marjorie Olmstead

**** From May 24, 2006 WIPHYS ****

Isn't that sad? I am one who couldn't do the PhD track and will possibly 
end up with a Masters teaching at a community college.  And this will 
take me another 10 years.

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