AAS Committee on the Status of Women  
Issue of April 23, 2010	 
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery 
This week's issues: 
1. Harassment: Serial Offenders 
2. You Might Be a Senior Woman if . . . 
3. AAS Special Session: Addressing Unconscious Bias 
4. CSWA Town Hall: Designing a 21st Century Astronomy Career Track  
5. AAS Special Session: Mentoring Astronomers 
6. Gender Wage Gap in 2010: 
7. CSWA Special Session and Town Hall at the Seattle AAS Meeting 
8. NGCP April Webcast: Why So Few? 
9. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN 
10. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
1. Harassment: Serial Offenders 
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelzmemphis.edu], Pat Knezek [pknezeknoao.edu] 
During our tenures as chair of CSWA, we became aware of individuals in the Astronomy community  
who might be characterized as serial offenders. This is an issue which is sticky and  
uncomfortable, but it comes up repeatedly. We've all heard the rumors. One astronomer is  
notorious for relentlessly pursuing and propositioning women at conferences. Another is a  
sexual harasser who is well into his second generation of victims. A third has maneuvered his  
way into a mentoring position to get close to a new crop of innocents.  
These individuals continue to harass in part because they can get away with it. They primarily  
victimize those in vulnerable positions - students and post docs - who cannot fight back  
effectively. Even those that have been caught can get another job in another city and start  
over with a clean record.  
What can be done to try and put an end to this behavior? In many cases we have dealt with  
these incidents informally and on a case by case basis. What is really needed, however, is a  
mechanism to identify individuals who fall into the serial category and deal with them  
Please note that we are not talking here about individual cases. CSWA has advice for victims  
of sexual harassment on our web site, and most institutions have their own policies. See item  
#3 at: 
Our intention here is to ask specifically about the Serial Offenders. We are looking for  
connections with expertise in this area.  
AASWOMEN, if your institution has an expert in sexual harassment issues, would you be willing  
to contact that expert and ask for advice on Serial Offenders? 
2. You Might Be a Senior Woman if . . . 
From: A couple of anonymous women who didn't think they were all that senior! 
[And now for something completely different . . . we enjoyed this list! If you would like to  
contribute, please send suggestions to us at aaswomenaas.org -- Eds.] 
Have you heard Jeff Foxworthy's comedy routines that start, 
"You Might Be a Redneck if . . .  ?" Well here's a list of a different sort. 
You might be a Senior Woman if . . . 
- you are asked to give invited talks on "women's issues" but never on science; 
- you fondly remember the good old days when you had the bathroom at work to yourself; 
- your AAS abstracts continually get assigned to the poster session, even though your male  
peers get talks; 
- everyone expects you to retire even though the men your age don't; 
- you *want* to retire even though the men your age don't; 
- you seem to be the only one who ever asks your colleagues to use inclusive language; 
- you're still the token woman on committees; 
- your boss refers to your subordinates as your children; 
- your department needs a new undergraduate advisor and everyone assumes you will do it  
because you "care;" 
- people think your former student is the leader of your group; 
- your former student thinks he is the leader of your group; 
- people say you don't do your own work (a trick question: if you do your own work, you're no  
good b/c you should have postdocs and students doing the work, but if you don't do your own  
work obviously you're no good); 
3. AAS Special Session: Addressing Unconscious Bias 
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelzmemphis.edu] 
CSWA Special Session on Unconscious Bias  
Please invite a colleague, research supervisor, or department chair to join us! 
When: Monday, May 24, 2010, 10:00 AM -11:30 AM  
Where: Hibiscus AB  
We all have biases, and we are (for the most part) unaware of them. In general, men and women  
BOTH unconsciously devalue the contributions of women. This can have a detrimental effect on  
grant proposals, job applications, and performance reviews. Sociology is way ahead of  
astronomy in these studies. 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. In this session, we want to introduce the concept of unconscious  
bias and also give recommendations on how to address it using an example for a faculty search  
committee. The process of eliminating unconscious bias begins with awareness, then moves to  
policy and practice, and ends with accountability. Speakers: Joan Schmelz (Univ. of Memphis),  
Patricia Knezek (WIYN), Caroline Simpson (Florida International Univ.), and Michele Montgomery  
(Univ. of Central Florida). 
4. CSWA Town Hall: Designing a 21st Century Astronomy Career Track  
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelzmemphis.edu] 
CSWA Town Hall  
Please invite a colleague, research supervisor, or department chair to join us! 
When: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM 
Where: Hibiscus AB  
Is your Department/Organization/Institution "Female-Friendly?" It can't be all about numbers,  
but if the percentage of women at all levels is typical, is that good enough, or is it only  
the first step? If there are no senior women at the highest level, can a place really be  
female-friendly? How important are role models and mentoring? Is your  
Department/Organization/Institution "Family-Friendly?" Is there a family leave policy and  
nearby affordable childcare? How important are things like flexible hours and the option to  
stop the tenure (or equivalent for non-academic positions) clock? The CSWA Town Hall at the  
Miami AAS meeting will take up the challenge of designing a 21st century astronomy career  
track. The Town Hall will include at least 30 minutes for discussion and answering questions  
from the audience.  
5. AAS Special Session: Mentoring Astronomers 
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelzmemphis.edu] 
CSMA-CSWA Special Session on Mentoring 
Please invite a colleague, research supervisor, or department chair to join us! 
When: Tuesday, May 25, 2010, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM  
Where: Hibiscus AB  
Whether formal or informal, mentoring relationships are an important part of every scientist's  
career through graduate school, job searches, and the tenure process. Yet despite its obvious  
importance, mentor development is often left to chance rather than given the attention and  
dedication required to be a truly effective mentor. The CSMA and CSWA are sponsoring a special  
session devoted to an exchange of information and best practices on mentoring as part of the  
summer 2010 AAS meeting. This session will consist of a participatory mini-workshop to discuss  
and practice implementing effective mentoring techniques. 
The speaker is involved in developing and conducting research mentor training programs  
affiliated with the Wisconsin Program for Scientific Teaching; the Delta Program in Research,  
Teaching, and Learning; and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. The mentor training  
has been designed to be effective for STEM disciplines and has been field tested with  
astronomers in particular. The seminar has been adapted for use with proteges who range in  
experience from grad students to postdocs, to faculty. The primary content will be the  
presentation and discussion of a few case studies. Topics that will be discussed in the  
context of mentoring are expectations, communication, independence, diversity, understanding  
and ethics. Speaker: Eric Hooper (UW-Madison Research Mentor Training Development Team)  
6. Gender Wage Gap in 2010: 
From: Amy Simon-Miller [amy.a.simon-millernasa.gov] 
I'd like to think it is better in our field than in society as a whole, but I don't know that  
for a fact. Anyway, a sobering and eye-opening look at the gender wage gap in 2010: 
Equal pay for equal work? Don't bet on it. President Obama may have made the Lily Ledbetter  
Fair Pay Act the very first act he signed into law as president, but women still earn just 77  
cents on the dollar on average, when compared to men. African-American and Hispanic women earn  
even less. Yes, the number is an old refrain, repeated so often it has little impact. But in  
2010, there's more reason for everyone-women and men-to care about the persistent pay gap than  
ever before. Since the passage of the Equal Pay Act in 1963, women's wages have risen less  
than a half-penny per year, from 59 cents then to 77 cents now. Which is why, in 1996, the  
National Committee on Pay Equity created "Equal Pay Day," an awareness campaign and yearly  
marker of just how much more women must work to earn what men earned in the year past. April  
20 is Equal Pay Day this year, meaning that women must work 110 days into 2010 to make what  
their fathers, husbands, brothers, and male colleagues earned in 2009. 
Read more at: 
7. CSWA Special Session and Town Hall at the Seattle AAS Meeting 
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelzmemphis.edu] 
The Winter AAS Meeting will be 09-13 January 2011 in Seattle, WA. Proposals for Special  
Sessions and Town Halls are due 15 May. If you have any ideas for topics that you think CSWA  
should cover, please let me know. 
Summaries and presentations from recent meetings are available on our web site: 
8. NGCP April Webcast: Why So Few? 
From: WIPHYS April 20, 2010 
NGCP April Webcast: Tuesday, April 27, 2010, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Pacific 
In an era when women are increasingly prominent in medicine, law and business, why are so few  
women in science and engineering fields? A new research report by AAUW (the American  
Association of University Women) funded by the National Science Foundation, presents  
compelling evidence that can help to explain this question. Join us to hear a presentation of  
eight recent research findings profiled in Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology,  
Engineering and Mathematics that point to important environmental and social barriers -  
including stereotypes, gender bias and the climate of science and engineering departments in  
colleges and universities- that continue to block women's participation and progress in  
science, technology, engineering, and math. The presentation will include ideas for what each  
of us can do to open scientific and engineering fields more fully to girls and women.  
The goal of the National Girls Collaborative Project is to maximize access to shared resources  
within projects and with public and private sector organizations and institutions interested  
in expanding girls' participation in STEM. Webcasts are offered throughout the year addressing  
research-based strategies in informal learning and evaluation and assessment. Webcasts and  
resources are archived and available for viewing. 
Karen Peterson, PI, National Girls Collaborative Project & CEO EdLab Group  
Lynnwood, WA 98036 
voice: 425-977-4750 
e-mail: kpetersonedlabgroup.org 
Web: www.edlabgroup.org 
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10. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN 
Past issues of AASWOMEN are available at 
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.