AAS Committee on the Status of Women 
Issue of May 9, 2008 
eds. Joan Schmelz, Hannah Jang-Condell & Caroline Simpson 
 
This week's issues: 
 
1. January 2008 AAS Meeting Session: Advice on When to Raise a Family 
 
2. Update on the Pasadena Recommendations 
 
3. CSWA web site 
 
4. Kepler Guest Office - Research Scientist 
 
5. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
 
6. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
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1. January 2008 AAS Meeting Session: Advice on When to Raise a Family 
From: Geoff Clayton [gclaytonfenway.phys.lsu.edu] 
 
The CSWA convened a panel at the Austin AAS meeting in which astronomers at 
 various stages in their careers described the way in which they made their 
 decisions about when to raise a family and how their choices have had an 
impact on their careers. The panel members were: Hannah Jang-Condell 
(University of Maryland & GSFC), Margaret Hanson (University of Cincinnati), 
Orsola De Marco (American Museum of Natural History), Charles Liu (CUNY) 
and John Debes (DTM). 
 
One of the most difficult decisions facing professional women is whether to 
have children and, if so, when. In practice women in astronomy have chosen 
a variety of solutions, ranging from delaying or interrupting graduate 
school or postdoctoral fellowships, delaying child rearing until after tenure,
or even abandoning the idea of having children. These decisions usually 
have a considerable impact on the career path of a professional woman. The 
following points summarize the views of the panelists and members of the 
audience: 
When is the best time to have kids? 
 
1. All times are equally good, meaning that you need to have kids when the 
time is right for you. Women cannot always count on waiting until 'the time 
 is right' to get pregnant. Nature doesn't always oblige on a schedule and  
if you wait too long into your late 30's or early 40's, it may be too late. 
 
2. If you have a choice in the matter, then having kids during grad school  
might have the least impact on your career because it is easier to take 
some time off. When you are a postdoc you are usually on a two-year clock and 
when you are tenure track, you usually on a five-year clock. 
 
3. Finding a daycare situation you really trust and that your child loves 
is critical to your peace of mind that they are well taken care of and you 
are not a 'bad parent' for not raising them yourself. 
 
4. Men need to be proactive and ask about benefits and policies with regard 
to parental leave, delay of tenure, etc., and make use of these opportunities 
themselves, so it is not always associated with female astronomers (to 
reduce biases), and to become a more fully engaged new parent. 
 
5. During the hiring process you may want to be open about your two-body 
(or N-body) problem during job interviews. But the best time to bring it up,  
whether at the beginning of the process or when on the short list, will 
vary with the situation. It would be nice to get hired at places that are 
family friendly in order to pressure institutions to change, but most people 
don't have the luxury of choosing between multiple offers. 
 
6. Don't listen too much to anyone's advice (including ours!). Everyone's 
kid is different; everyone's personal circumstances are different; 
everyone's parenting style is different. You know what's best for your 
family, and don't let anyone else tell you differently. 
 
7. A supportive partner and/or a circle of support from friends and family 
is extremely helpful. 
 
8. Having kids is really hard, let alone trying to work at the same time, 
but it may be the most rewarding thing you ever do. 
 
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2. Update on the Pasadena Recommendations 
From: Geoff Clayton [gclaytonfenway.phys.lsu.edu] 
 
The following letter has been send from the AAS President to Department 
Chairs encouraging them to publicly endorse the Pasadena Recommendations. 
 
Dear Department Chairperson, 
 
In January 2005, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) unanimously 
endorsed a series of recommendations aimed at promoting gender equity in 
astronomy. We are writing your department to encourage you to follow suit. 
We all want to increase the diversity of our field, for the betterment of the 
science, for fairness to non-traditional students (women, minorities), to 
continue to be supported by a diverse public, and because equal opportunity 
is the law (Title IX). Universities are aware of the continued barriers 
that women face in academia, as noted by the "Statement on Gender Equity in 
Academic Science and Engineering" signed by nine universities in 2001 and 
reaffirmed by the same institutions on December 6, 2005. National 
laboratories and other institutions are also concerned with achieving a 
diverse and fair working environment. 
 
The AAS has long been a proponent of diversity in science. To this end, the 
AAS created a Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy in 1972, and a 
meeting was held to address ways to promote equity in 1992. That meeting 
resulted in the Baltimore Charter for Women in Astronomy (see 
www.stsci.edu/stsci/meetings/WiA/BaltoCharter.html), an initial set of 
recommendations to improve the environment for women in astronomy. A second 
meeting was held in Pasadena in 2003, and led to another set of 
recommendations that extend those in the Baltimore Charter. The Pasadena 
Recommendations suggest concrete steps that can be taken by individual 
institutions. 
 
The AAS has been very forward thinking and pro-active in increasing the 
number of women - and we are finally seeing results; since 2003 over 50% of 
AAS members between the ages of 18-23 have been women. Now we ask you to 
come together and consider the Pasadena Recommendations - discuss them, 
endorse them officially (notify us, we will post endorsements on our web 
site www.aas.org/cswa), post them prominently (a brochure, suitable for 
printing, is available at our web site), advertise them to your university 
administration, and take proactive steps to promote equity in your own 
institution. We also welcome comments and feedback. 
 
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3. CSWA web site 
From: Geoff Clayton [gclaytonfenway.phys.lsu.edu] 
 
We are continuing to upgrade the CSWA's presence on the web. We plan more 
improvements in the coming year including, making the AASWOMEN newsletter 
available via RSS and the introduction of a CSWA Blog. You can find us at, 
 
www.aas.org/cswa 
 
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4. Kepler Guest Office - Research Scientist 
From: Natalie Batalha [nbatalhascience.sjsu.edu] 
 
A current mission of the University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) is to 
support the Kepler Guest Observer (GO) office, responsible for creating 
and managing a program through which scientists will be able to request and 
receive observing time and resulting data from NASA's Kepler planet-search 
mission. US participation in the MOST GO program will also be managed 
through the Kepler GO office. We are seeking an experienced Research Scientist 
who understands the Kepler mission and can communicate to the astronomical 
community the nature and limitations of data produced by the Kepler 
instrument. This technical knowledge is also needed to enable technical 
evaluation of the GO proposals and to guide the GOs in preparation of their 
proposals and analysis of the data. The incumbent will have an opportunity to 
carry out a scientific investigation using data from Kepler. 
 
The incumbent will: work with NASA HQ to create and manage the Kepler Guest 
Observer Office at NASA Ames Research Center; develop an understanding of 
the instrument and its expected data products; deliver Guest Observer 
target lists to the Kepler Science Office for scheduling and upload; oversee 
technical review of GO proposals; produce written documents and web-based 
facilities for Guest Observers describing the Kepler mission and its data 
products, including a GO Users Manual containing information regarding the 
instrument, target catalog(s), and procedures for obtaining results from the 
Data Management Center (DMC); establish written policies regarding Kepler 
target availability, target conflicts, proprietary periods and other such 
issues; guide GOs in making best use of their Kepler data, including 
building and maintaining an FAQ list; organize and host Kepler GO science 
symposia; coordinate US participation in the Canadian MOST satellite GO 
program; produce written documents and web-based facilities linking Guest 
Observers with the MOST documentation; assist GOs in making best use of 
their MOST data; and organize and host tutorial workshops for prospective 
GOs.  Minimum requirements are: a PhD in astronomy or related discipline; 
experience with telescope Time Allocation Committees (e.g. a record of 
writing successfully competed observing proposals, service on TAC 
committees, participation in GO programs associated with other space-based 
missions, etc); Experience with CCD/instrument characterization and with 
the reduction and analysis of CCD photometry. 
 
Special Condition of Employment: In order to comply with security measures 
at the University Affiliated Research Center, the selected candidate will 
be required to be fingerprinted, and wear a photo I.D. badge. 
 
You may submit a letter of interest and resume to uarchrucsc.edu . 
 
The University of California (UC) provides exceptional benefits in addition 
to the special intellectual and cultural advantages of being a member of 
the UC Community. The University offers outstanding health and welfare 
benefits and programs for secure retirement that are considered to be among 
the finest in higher education. Our salary structure is highly competitive 
and commensurate with qualifications and experience. 
 
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6. 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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