AAS Committee on the Status of Women 
Issue of March 21, 2008 
eds. Joan Schmelz, Hannah Jang-Condell & Caroline Simpson 
 
This week's issues: 
 
1. Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man? 
 
2. Women's Networking Breakfast 
 
3. CSWP/DPF Networking Luncheon for Women in Physics 
 
4. COM/CSWP Dessert Reception 
 
5. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
 
6. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
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1. Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man? 
 
[Last week, AASWOMEM posted a link to an article by Christina Hoff Sommers, 
 a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. It generated two  
very different responses which appear below -- eds.] 
 
From: Annie Weeks [aw346cam.ac.uk] 
 
Thanks so much for including the link to the Christina Hoff Sommers article. 
Really! I appreciate the balance that comes from having an occasional 
conservative voice in the discussion of women in science. The editorial 
caveat amused me. 
 
[The so-called caveat was an edited-down description of AEI from the Source 
Watch web site. We're not sure why this would be amusing, but we are happy 
 to provide amusement whenever we can! -- eds.] 
 
I think that using Title IX to enforce quotas in majors or classes at the 
university level would ultimately be counterproductive, potentially 
detrimental to society. (Do we really want to force droves of men into the 
field of nursing?) A little self-selection can benefit all involved. Far 
better to simply remove obstacles and then let people go where they want 
to go. And if more men than women choose to go into SET fields, so be it! 
Don't hinder ANYONE from entering their chosen field! We will all be better 
off for it. 
 
From: Doug Duncan [dduncancolorado.edu] 
 
I think it would be wrong to assume that the typical commentator at the 
American Enterprise Inst. is open to learning. They are funded to present 
a certain point of view, period. 
 
The article is quite an amazing and sophisticated example of how smart 
people at the American Enterprise Institute slant truth and rewrite history. 
It essentially says that the female MIT professors who complained about 
support and salary were baseless - that there's no data supporting them. 
Just because salary data are confidential and MIT didn't publish them, 
doesn't mean the claims weren't factual. Did they have a basis for 
complaint? 
 
The author is famous for her book "The War Against Boys." A review of her 
previous book is here: 
 
http://www.aei.org/publications/bookID.517/book_detail.asp 
 
- and that's a fairly FAVORABLE review! 
 
This is the email I sent to Christina Hoff Sommers (I have not heard back 
from her): 
 
I'm a Caltech grad, class of '73. My classmates were smart, hardworking, 
able to be aggressive at meetings, and highly successful. The number of women? 
Zero. They weren't admitted until '74. Not one professor I knew saw any 
problem with the student body. 
 
If you want to find out how women are treated in academia, I suggest that 
you ask women, not the professors who teach them, nor theoretical brain 
scientists! The study has, in fact, been done: 
 
"Talking About Leaving," done by Elaine Seymour and Nancy Hewitt of CU, 
tracked and interviewed 460 students to find out what REALLY happened to 
them.  Around half the students stayed in a STEM major and half left. The 
study purpose was to find out why. That's a LOT of interviews, not 
anecdotal but meaningful. Take a look. 
 
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2. Women's Networking Breakfast 
From: Jennifer Grier [jgrierpsi.edu] 
 
A Women's Networking Breakfast was held this March at the Lunar and 
Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) with 109 women attending. A summary of 
the event follows, including where to go for more information, and to join 
a newly created blog. 
 
Each table at the breakfast was given a topic to break the ice and start 
discussion, and at the end of the breakfast, leaders from each table shared 
their perspective on the most urgent issues facing women in planetary 
science, as well as some possible solutions. A summary of each working 
group's results has been posted on a brand-new blog, Women in Planetary 
Science: 
 
http://womeninplanetaryscience.org. 
 
At the request of the attendees, a discussion email list has also been 
created. To join in the discussion via email, sign up for the list at 
 
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/womeninplanetaryscience 
 
or send a message to womeninplanetaryscience-subscribeyahoogroups.com 
from your desired email account. Issues on the minds of the women present 
included recruitment and retention of women in the field, on-ramps to 
mission teams, acceptable paths to becoming a mission PI or deputy PI, grant 
availability and flexibility, information sharing, networking, graduate 
student involvement, the two-body problem, and the question of work-life 
balance. 
 
Many thanks to the organizer, Susan Niebur! 
 
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3. CSWP/DPF Networking Luncheon for Women in Physics 
From: WIPHYS March 19, 2008 
 
The Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP) and the Division of 
Particles and Fields (DPF) will co-sponsor a buffet luncheon for women in 
physics from 12:00-1:30 pm on Sunday, April 13, 2008 at the APS meeting in 
Directors Row 43, Adams Mark Hotel, St. Louis, Missouri. The luncheon is 
open to all: both men and women are welcome to attend. This is an excellent 
opportunity to enjoy a full buffet lunch and network with colleagues! 
Patricia Rankin of University of Colorado will offer some informal remarks 
on women in physics entitled "From Pipeline to Pathways - How to Demolish 
the Labyrinth". Cost: $20. Students are $5, thanks to the generosity of DPF. 
Please pre-register by April 7 at 
 
http://www.aps.org/meetings/april/others/events/cswpdpf_lunch.cfm . 
 
Only walk-ins can be accepted after that. (Note: After April, the hotel 
will be known as the Hyatt Regency St. Louis Riverfront). 
 
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4. COM/CSWP Dessert Reception 
From: WIPHYS March 19, 2008 
 
Enjoy a dessert buffet, learn about the work of the Committee on Minorities 
in Physics and the Committee on the Status of Women in Physics, network 
with colleagues, and unwind after a long day of sessions at the APS Meeting 
in St. Louis. This event will be held on Sunday, April 13, 7:30-9:00 pm in 
the Adams Mark Hotel. 
 
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5. Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory - Two Positions 
From: WIPHYS March 19, 2008 
 
The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory is seeking qualified applicants 
for two positions with its Submillimeter Array Project. These are federal 
positions with full benefits packages. 
 
Director of Site Operations, Hilo, HI - will direct the operations of the 
SMA to ensure that planned scientific observations and engineering tests are 
carried out efficiently. In addition, he/she will provide administrative, 
technical, and scientific guidance to Hilo-based SMA staff. As an 
internationally-recognized authority in millimeter or submillimeter radio 
astronomy, he/she will also conduct his or her own program of research in 
submillimeter observational astronomy and support development of enhanced 
capabilities for the SMA. (JP 28-20) 
 
Electronics Engineer or Physicist, Cambridge, MA - will lead an effort to 
implement receiver control hardware and software algorithms to better enable 
remote operations of the array; will lead the production, testing, i
nstallation, and commissioning of receiver instrumentation for the SMA; 
will coordinate and further develop a test program to verify instrument 
performance and readiness and will participate in ongoing and future receiver 
developments. He/she will be expected to help identify, define, and select 
specific areas of scientific opportunity to guide ongoing development of 
the SMA. (JP 28-19) 
 
For further information and complete application procedures regarding 
these positions, please visit (JP 28-19 and JP 28-20) at: 
 
http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/hr/postings/ 
 
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6. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
 
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7. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
Past issues of AASWOMEN are available at 
 
http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html 
 
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered. 
 
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