AAS Committee on the Status of Women 
Issue of January 30, 2009 
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson, & Michele Montgomery 
 
This week's issues: 
 
1.  Women in Astronomy Blog Highlights Jan 23, 2009 - Leavitt Law 
 
2.  Facebook Gets a New Member - Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy 
 
3.  President Barack Obama Signs Equal-Pay Bill 
 
4.  Chronicle of Higher Education article on U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against 
     Limiting Title IX Lawsuits 
 
5.  AWIS Press Release - Elsevier Grant on Leading Women to Create Their Own 
     Personal Work/Life Balance 
 
6.  Increased Funds for Childcare at APS Meetings 
 
7.  Research Internship for Undergraduate Women 
 
8.  APS March Meeting Special Events 
 
9.  Associate Project Scientist, James Webb Space Telescope 
 
10.  Full-time, Tenure-track, Astronomy, LOS RIOS Community College District 
 
11.  How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
 
12.  Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
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1.  Women in Astronomy Blog Highlights Jan 23, 2009 - Leavitt Law 
From:  Joan Schmelz 
 
The AAS Council recognized the 100th anniversary of Henrietta   
Leavitt's first presentation of the Cepheid Period-Luminosity   
relation, a seminal discovery in astronomy that continues to have   
great significance.  The Council was pleased to learn of a resolution   
adopted by the organizers of the Leavitt symposium, "Thanks to   
Henrietta Leavitt," held Nov. 6, 2008 at the Harvard-Smithsonian   
Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA. There, it was suggested that   
this important relation now be referred to as the "Leavitt Law."   The   
Council recognized that the AAS has no authority to define   
astronomical nomenclature, but it would be happy to see this   
designation used widely. 
 
For details of the symposium, please see: 
 
http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/events/2008/leavitt/ 
 
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2.  Facebook Gets a New Member - Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy 
From: Geoff Clayton 
 
[Become a Facebook fan of the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy at 
 
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Committee-on-the-Status-of-Women-in-Astronomy/43977374494 
 
and meet other fans.] 
 
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3.  President Barack Obama Signs Equal-Pay Bill 
From:  Philip Elliot, Associated Press 
 
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is signing into law an   
equal-pay bill that is popular with labor and women's groups and is   
expected to make it easier for workers to sue for decades-old   
discrimination. 
 
Obama was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on Thursday during   
an East Room ceremony, a move that effectively ends a 2007 Supreme   
Court decision that said workers had only 180 days to file a   
pay-discrimination lawsuit. Obama and fellow Democrats campaigned hard   
against the court decision and promised to pass legislation that would   
give workers more time to sue their employers for past discrimination. 
 
"This bill will be a big step forward not just for women, but for   
families," the White House said in a statement announcing the bill   
signing. "It is not only a measure of fairness, but can be the   
difference for families struggling to make ends meet during these   
difficult times." 
 
The law is named for a woman who said she didn't become aware of a pay   
discrepancy until she neared the end of her 19-year career at a   
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Gadsden, Ala. She sued, but the   
Supreme Court in 2007 said she missed her chance. 
 
The court said in a 5-4 ruling that a person must file a claim of   
discrimination within 180 days of a company's initial decision to pay   
a worker less than it pays another worker doing the same job. Under   
the new bill, given final passage in Congress this week, every new   
discriminatory paycheck would extend the statute of limitations for   
another 180 days. 
 
Congress attempted to update the law to extend the time, but the Bush   
White House and Senate Republicans blocked the legislation in the last   
session of Congress 
 
Opponents contended the legislation would gut the statute of   
limitations, encourage lawsuits and be a boon to trial lawyers. They   
also argued that employees could wait to file claims in hopes of   
reaping larger damage awards. The bill does not change current law   
limiting back pay for claimants to two years. 
 
Obama, who took office on Jan. 20, spoke strongly in support of it   
during his campaign and the Democratic-controlled Congress moved it to   
the top of the agenda for the new session that opened this month. 
 
Obama aides said Ledbetter would attend the bill signing ceremony in   
the East Room, followed by a separate reception with first lady   
Michelle Obama. 
 
The Ledbetter bill focuses on pay and other workplace discrimination   
against women. The Census Bureau last year estimated that women still   
receive only about 78 cents for every dollar that men get for doing   
equivalent jobs. But the measure, which amends the 1964 Civil Rights   
Act, also applies to discrimination based on factors such as race,   
religion, national origin, disability or age. 
 
Ledbetter was a tireless spokeswoman for the law and Obama's   
candidacy. She addressed the Democratic National Convention in Denver   
last year and traveled to Washington aboard Obama's train for the   
inauguration ceremonies. The law will not help Ledbetter recover any   
money; instead, she said she owed it to other women to champion the   
cause. 
 
"There will be a far richer reward if we secure fair pay," she said in   
Denver. "For our children and grandchildren, so that no one will ever   
again experience the discrimination that I did." 
 
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4.  Chronicle of Higher Education article: "U.S. Supreme Court Rules   
Against Limiting Title IX Lawsuits" by Eric Kelderman 
From:  The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 21, 2009 
 
Washington - A unanimous Supreme Court today ruled against imposing   
more limits on sexual-discrimination and sexual-harassment lawsuits. 
 
Today's decision overturns a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for   
the First Circuit, in Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee. The   
appeals court found that lawsuits filed under Title IX, the 1972 law   
that prohibits sex discrimination at institutions that receive federal   
funds, could not also include claims of civil-rights violations under   
a Civil War-era federal law, Section 1983, that enforces the   
equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. 
 
But Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., who wrote the opinion for all nine   
justices, said that the two statutes were not mutually exclusive   
because each offers different protections and penalties. Claims under   
Section 1983 can be filed against individuals, for example, while   
Title IX lawsuits can be filed only against institutions. 
 
"Because Title IX's protections are narrower in some respects and   
broader in others than those guaranteed under the equal-protection   
clause, the court cannot agree with the First Circuit that Congress   
saw Title IX as the sole means of correcting unconstitutional gender   
discrimination in schools," Justice Alito wrote. 
 
The original suit had been filed by the parents of a kindergarten   
student in Hyannis, Mass., who charged that a third-grader had   
repeatedly forced their daughter to expose herself to him and to other   
students on a school bus during a six-month period in the 2000-1   
school year. 
 
A federal district-court judge in Massachusetts ruled that the student   
had faced sexual harassment that was "severe and pervasive" but that   
the school had not violated Title IX because the harassment stopped   
after school officials found out about the misconduct. The judge also   
dismissed the parents' claims, under the equal-protection clause,   
that the school discriminated on the basis of sex in both the   
investigation and proposed remedy. A three-judge panel of the appeals   
court upheld the lower court's rulings. 
 
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has reversed the appeals court's   
decision, the lower courts will still have to decide on the merits of   
the parents' charges of constitutional violations under the   
equal-protection clause. 
 
The American Association of University Professors had signed on to a   
friend-of-the-court brief in support of the plaintiffs, who wanted the   
Supreme Court to overturn the appeals-court decision. Other groups   
that supported the plaintiffs include the American Bar Association,   
the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Women's Law   
Center. -Eric Kelderman 
 
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5.  AWIS Press Release - Elsevier Grant on Leading Women to Create   
Their Own Personal Work/Life Balance 
From:  AWIS Jan. 2009 
 
The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) has received a three-year   
grant from the Elsevier Foundation in the amount of $105,000 for a new   
project: "AWIS Leading Women to Create Their Own Personal Work/Life   
Balance." 
 
The grant will be used to develop an educational/support program,   
including a toolkit with supplementary resources and extended coaching   
to enable AWIS' 51 chapters around the county to help early-to   
mid-career women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics   
(STEM) learn to effectively manage their personal and professional   
lives.  Building on an established network, this three year project   
will address the critical career points when women's attrition from   
STEM fields is highest. 
 
"Significant progress has been made in improving the status of women   
within the scientific workforce over the past 30 years, particularly   
in regards to training," said Janet Bandows Koster, AWIS executive   
director. "At each stage of advancement, however, from postdoctoral   
training to first position to tenure and beyond, the proportion of   
women represented drops off substantially." According to a 2007 report   
by the National Academy of Sciences, this exodus is linked to issues   
related to starting a family and inability to establish a satisfactory   
work/life balance. 
 
AWIS will launch the Personal Work/Life Balance program with a   
workshop titled "Learn to Juggle Without Joining the Circus:   
Strategies to Deal with Your Career and Work-Life Balance Challenges."   
The event takes place on Monday, February 16, 2009 from 7:30 am -   
11:30 am at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, in conjunction with the annual   
meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science   
(AAAS). 
 
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6. Increased Funds for Childcare at APS Meetings 
From:  WIPHYS Jan. 27, 2009 
 
The Committee on the Status of Women in Physics is pleased to announce   
that it has received a grant from the Elsevier Foundation's New   
Scholars program which will allow it to make awards of up to $400 to   
APS meeting attendees who are bringing small children or who incur   
extra expenses in leaving them at home (i.e., extra daycare or   
babysitting services).   Details at 
 
http://www.aps.org/meetings/march/services/childcare.cfm 
 
(March meeting, Pittsburgh) and 
 
http://www.aps.org/meetings/april/events/index.cfm 
 
(April meeting, Denver). 
 
The grant from Elsevier augments existing funds from the APS and   
allows the committee to increase both the number and the amount of the   
awards. 
 
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7.  Research Internship for Undergraduate Women 
From:  WIPHYS Jan. 26, 2009 
 
Information on the 2009 APS/IBM Research Internship for Undergraduate   
Women is now available!  These summer internships are salaried   
positions typically 10 weeks long, and include in addition a $2,500   
grant, plus the opportunity to work with a mentor at one of three IBM   
research locations.  Applications must be submitted by February 15,   
2009.  Complete details on the program and how to apply are available at 
 
http://www.aps.org/programs/women/scholarships/ibm/index.cfm 
 
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8.  APS March Meeting Special Events 
From:  WIPHYS Jan. 27, 2009 
 
The Committee on the Status of Women in Physics is sponsoring or   
co-sponsoring a variety of special events on Tuesday, March 17 at the   
APS March annual meeting in Pittsburgh, PA. 
 
1) CSWP/FIAP Networking Breakfast for Women in Physics (7:30-9:30 am,   
Westin Hotel)  Full buffet breakfast and an informal speaker.  Both   
men and women are welcome to attend.  Pre-registration by March 2 is   
strongly encouraged 
 
http://www.aps.org/meetings/march/events/receptions/cswp-fiap.cfm . 
 
2) Panel Discussion J4: Around the World in 180 Minutes, (11:14 am -   
2:15 pm, Convention Center) Sponsored by the Committee on the Status   
of Women in Physics and the Forum on International Physics. 
 
3) COM/CSWP Reception (6:00 pm - 7:30 pm, Westin Hotel).  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. All are welcome to join us. 
 
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9.  Associate Project Scientist, James Webb Space Telescope 
From:  Jonathan Gardner jonathan.p.gardnernasa.gov 
 
The Observational Cosmology Laboratory of NASA's Goddard Space Flight   
Center invites applications for a civil service astrophysicist   
position in astronomical instrumentation. The successful candidate   
will join the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) project science team   
as the Associate Project Scientist for Assembly, Integration, Test and   
Commissioning (I&T) of the observatory [at NASA's Goddard Space Flight   
Center]. 
 
The successful candidate will work with the JWST project team to   
validate the instrumentation, telescope and observatory as they   
undergo I&T, paying particular attention to the thermal design. The   
incumbent will also carry out a program of scientific research   
relevant to the JWST science objectives. 
 
Desired qualifications include a PhD degree, a scientific publication   
record in astronomy and/or astronomical instrumentation and experience   
working with cryogenic space-flight mission hardware. The appointment   
will be made at the GS-14 or GS-15 level within the US government   
civil service. 
 
For more information, see the AAS job bulletin position 25420 or   
contact Jonathan Gardner at 301-286-3938 or   
jonathan.p.gardnernasa.gov.  NASA is an Equal Employment   
Opportunity employer and a diversity of candidates is sought.    
Expressions of interest are due Feb. 28, 2009; additional application   
materials will be required. US Citizenship is required. 
 
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10.  Full-time (Tenure Track) positions in Astronomy, LOS RIOS   
Community College District 
From:  The Chronicle of Higher Education 
 
The Los Rios Community College District's four colleges [American   
River College, Cosumnes River College, Folsom Lake College, Sacramento   
City College] serve the greater Sacramento region. With a student   
population of approximately 90,000 and a service area of 2,400 square   
miles, the District is the second largest in California and is one of   
the top statewide in transferring students to the UC and CSU systems.   
In addition, the district provides 76 two-year vocational programs and   
63 technical certificate programs. Our District offers excellent   
salaries and benefits and encourages and promotes the continuous   
professional development of all. Los Rios Community College District   
is a past recipient of the Sacramento Workplace Excellence Leader Award. 
 
LRCCD is currently recruiting for the following, full-time,   
tenure-track faculty positions:  Astronomy [among many others].  For   
details, see 
 
www.losrios.edu 
 
for indepth job descriptions and instructions for applying online. EOE. 
 
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12.  Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
 
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http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html 
 
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered. 
 
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