AAS Committee on the Status of Women 
Issue of December 19, 2009 
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery 
 
This week's issues: 
 
1. Unearned Advantage and Disadvantage 
 
2. Unconcious Bias: the CSWA special session proposal for the Miami 
AAS Meeting 
 
3. CSWA Special Sessions at the D.C. AAS Meeting 
 
4. Profiles of Various Career Paths 
 
5. Our Thanks to Fran Bagenal, the editor of STATUS 
 
6. Wanted: A New Editor for STATUS 
 
7. Follow-up on Childcare at AAS DC meeting 
 
8. Funds Remain for Childcare Grants for APS Meeting 
 
9. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
 
10. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
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1. Unearned Advantage and Disadvantage 
From: Caroline Simpson [simpsoncfiu.edu] 
 
[We continue to summarize the major outcomes from the Women in 
Astronomy III conference held at the University of Maryland October 
21-23, 2009 - Eds.] 
 
Dr. Peggy McIntosh, Senior Research Scientist and the associate 
director of the Wellesley Centers for Women, talked about the concept 
of unearned advantage and disadvantage as work impediments. Her work 
has added the concept of privilege to discussions of race and  
gender. The framework is that there exists a "line of justice" above 
which is the world of (unearned) privilege: above that line, you are 
pushed up in ways you did not earn. This creates mental attitudes of 
superiority and rightness, most of which are quite unconscious. Below 
that line exists the realm of (unearned) disadvantage. It is not that 
below that line one is "suffering from"; it is that above that line, 
one is "free of."  There is no blame placed here -- one 
just absorbs the ideas that come with being above/below the line of 
justice. Everyone usually has both types and both can be 
impediments in the workplace.  
 
Dr. McIntosh demonstrated this principle with concrete examples she 
has assembled over the years. The original work focused on race 
issues, but are equally applicable to gender issues. Here are some of 
her examples:  
     * I can, if I wish, arrange to be in the company of people of my 
     own race/gender most of the time. 
     * I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in 
     which I am the only member of my race/gender. 
     * I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting 
     my race/gender on trial. 
     * I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial 
     group/gender.  
     * I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in 
     charge," I will be facing a person of my race/gender. 
 
In her talk, Dr. McIntosh asked us to ask ourselves what we have that 
we didn't earn (relative to someone else); and then what disadvantage 
we had that we didn't earn. It was an interesting exercise...  
 
More examples can be found in her excerpted essay "White Privilege: 
Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack" at  
www.case.edu/president/aaction/UnpackingTheKnapsack.pdf  
 
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2. Unconcious Bias: the CSWA special session proposal for the Miami 
AAS Meeting 
From: Hannah at womeninastronomy.blogspot.com 
 
Looking forward, one of the topics we want to bring up at the summer 
2010 AAS Meeting in Miami is unconscious bias. An excerpt from our 
proposal:  
 
    When evaluating identical application packages, male and female 
    University psychology professors preferred 2:1 to hire "Brian" 
    over "Karen" as an assistant professor. When evaluating a more 
    experienced record (at the point of promotion to tenure), 
    reservations were expressed four times more often when the name 
    was female. This unconscious bias has a repeated negative effect 
    on Karen's career. Ref: Steinpreis, Anders, & Ritzke (1999) Sex 
    Roles, 41, 509. 
 
See the full post at 
http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2009/12/blogging-big-meetings-and-bias.html  
 
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3. CSWA Special Sessions at the D.C. AAS Meeting 
From: Hannah at womeninastronomy.blogspot.com 
 
The Committee for the Status for Women in Astronomy (CSWA) is 
sponsoring a number of special sessions at the AAS meeting in 
Washington, D.C. next month: at the upcoming AAS Meeting in 
Washington, DC. We are sponsoring a number of special sessions:  
 
    * 208 Longitudinal Study of Astronomy Graduate Students 
      Monday, Jan 04, 2010, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM 
      Virginia B 
 
    * 221 Mentoring Astronomers: Students to Faculty I (co-sponsored with CSMA 
      [Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astrononmy]) 
      Special Session 
      Wednesday, Jan 06, 2010, 10:00 AM -11:30 AM 
      Maryland A 
 
    * 226 Mentoring Astronomers: Students to Faculty II (co-sponsored with CSMA) 
      Special Session 
      Wednesday, Jan 06, 2010, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM 
      Maryland A 
 
You might also be interested in this poster session on Tuesday: 
 
    * Public Policy Issues 
      Poster Session 
      Tuesday, Jan 05, 2010, 9:20 AM - 6:30 PM 
      Exhibit Hall 
 
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4. Profiles of Various Career Paths 
From: AAS Electronic Announcement #203 - December 2009 
				 
Over the past two years, the Employment Committee has published a 
series of articles in the AAS Newsletter to highlight a wide variety 
of career paths. Each article gives an insider perspective and tips 
for success in a specific job sector. A collection of links to past 
articles in the Newsletter archives is now available at: 
aas.org/career/ 
 
If you would like to highlight a career path that is not represented 
in the current list of articles, please contact the Employment 
Committee Chair, Travis Metcalfe (travisucar.edu) 
 
[Here's the current list from the website -- eds.] 
 
	* Preparing for the College Teaching Job Market by Luke Keller 
	* Succeeding in a Large Research Collaboration by Andy Howell 
	* Balancing Research and Service at NOAO by Knut Olsen 
	* Working at a Soft-Money Institute by Barb Whitney 
	* Back to School: A Ph.D. Enters the Classroom by Joshua Roth 
	* Jobs in Industry by Peter Williams 
 
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5. Our Thanks to Fran Bagenal, the editor of STATUS 
From: The Members of CSWA [cswaaas.org] 
 
Fran Bagenal is stepping down as the editor of STATUS, CSWA's 
semiannual printed publication. Fran has been the editor since the 
June 2004 edition. Not only has she solicited contributions and 
overseen the production of each issue, but she has also written many 
articles herself.  
 
In her letter of resignation, Fran told us that she was ready to move 
on to other things. She is a professor in Astrophysical and Planetary 
Sciences at the University of Colorado and specializes in the 
synthesis of data analysis and theory in the study of space plasmas.  
 
We thank Fran for her dedicated service and wish her all the best in 
her future pursuits.  
 
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6. Wanted: A New Editor for STATUS 
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelzmemphis.edu] 
 
With the recent resignation of Fran Bagenal, STATUS finds itself in 
need of a new editor. CSWA is looking for volunteers to join Associate 
Editors Joannah Hinz (University of Arizona) and Patricia Knezek (WIYN 
Observatory) and help shepherd STATUS into the future.  
 
STATUS consists of original and reprinted articles on topics relating 
to women in astronomy, in science and/or in society. Contributions, 
such as editorial columns, factual articles, personal stories and 
letters to the editor are welcome from anyone.  
 
In this world of electronic media, CSWA feels that STATUS still has an 
important role to play.  It is the best place for longer, more 
in-depth articles, which often feature plots or tables. Such articles 
are not well suited to the AASWOMEN or blog format. STATUS could go 
completely online (pdf) rather than continue in the printed format, 
and this will be a decision for the new editorial staff.  
 
If you are interested in applying for the editorship of STATUS, please 
contact me or any CSWA member.   
 
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7. Follow-up on Childcare at AAS DC meeting 
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelzmemphis.edu] 
 
Good news from Kevin Marvel -- there are now 7 families and 11 children 
signed up for childcare at the AAS DC meeting.  
 
He says that this is nearly an order of magnitude more interest in 
AAS-provided childcare than in the past!  
 
Keep spreading the word. 
 
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8. Funds Remain for Childcare Grants for APS Meeting 
From: WIPHYS, Dec. 15, 2009 
 
Thinking about what to do about extra expenses in connection with 
childcare for that little one while you attend the APS meeting in 
Washington, DC in February?  We can help!   Small grants of up to $400 
are available to assist meeting attendees at the APS annual meetings 
who are bringing small children or who incur extra expenses in leaving 
them at home.  Please go to 
http://www.aps.org/meetings/april/services/childcare.cfm and 
completing the short application form. 
 
The deadline to apply for a childcare grant for the APS February/April 
meeting has been extended to January 8, 2010.  
 
Information about similar grants for the March meeting (Portland, 
Oregon) can be found at 
http://www.aps.org/meetings/march/services/childcare.cfm .  
 
APS is pleased to offer these grants through the support of the 
Elsevier Foundation's New Scholars Program 
http://www.elsevierfoundation.org/scholar.html .  
 
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10.  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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