AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of November 12, 2010
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery

This week's issues:

1.  Low Percentages of Women Invited Speakers (Cont'd.)

2.  Recommendation Letters Costing Women Jobs/Promotions

3.  CONSTELLATION - A Model Program to Promote Women in Astronomy?

4.  Professional Skills Development Workshops for Women Physicists

5.  Department of Homeland Security Scholarships for Undergraduates

6.  Department of Energy (DOE) Scholars Program

7.  Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Teaching fellowships

8.  Scientific, Technical, and Outreach Opportunities with CAASTRO in  


9.  Faculty Position in Gravitational Physics/Cosmology

10. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN

11. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN

1.  Low Percentages of Women Invited Speakers (Cont'd.)
From: Nancy Morrison (CSWA) [NMorris_at_UTNet.UToledo.Edu]

Since Friday's posting about the publication of the table on  
percentages of women invited speakers  
[http://www.aas.org/cswa/bulletin.board/2010/11.05.10.html], new  
submittals have been pouring in.   Although we started out with the  
premise that the percentages of women invited speakers is low, most  
conferences look pretty good - 20% or above.  I am in the process of  
updating the table:


I'll do a little statistical analysis and construct a histogram of the  

[We will publish the statistics in an upcoming newsletter.  However,  
additions to this table are still needed. We have two constraints: (1)  
this list is for invited speakers only (not public lecturers,  
contributed speakers, session chairs, etc.); (2) you need to identify  
the gender of 100% of the invited speakers (for names that are  
ambiguous and unfamiliar, a Google search usually helps). Please send  
the information needed for each column in the table, if possible along  
with a link to the conference web site, to the CSWA webmaster, Nancy  
Morrison, NMorris_at_UTNet.UToledo.Edu .  Thanks to those who have  
already contributed. -- eds.]

2. Recommendation Letters Costing Women Jobs/Promotions
From:  Claire Cramer [ccramer108_at_gmail.com]

A recommendation letter could be the chute in a woman's career ladder,  
according to ongoing research at Rice University. The comprehensive  
study shows that qualities  mentioned in recommendation letters for  
women differ sharply from those for men, and those differences may be  
costing women jobs and promotions in academia and  medicine.

[In recommendation letters,] female candidates were described in  
more communal (social or emotive) terms and male candidates in more  
agentic (active or assertive) terms.  "We found that being communal is  
not valued in academia," said [Randi] Martin, the Elma Schneider  
Professor of Psychology at Rice. "The more communal characteristics  
mentioned, the lower the evaluation of the candidate."

Words in the communal category included adjectives such as  
affectionate, helpful, kind, sympathetic, nurturing, tactful and  
agreeable, and behaviors such as helping others, taking direction well  
and maintaining relationships. Agentic adjectives included words such  
as  confident, aggressive, ambitious, dominant, forceful, independent,  
daring, outspoken and intellectual, and behaviors such as speaking  
assertively, influencing others and initiating tasks.

"Communal characteristics mediate the relationship between gender and  
hiring decisions in academia, which suggests that gender norm  
stereotypes can influence hireability ratings of applicants," Martin  

The "pipeline shortage of women" in academia is a well-known and  
researched phenomenon, but this study is the first of its kind to  
examine the recommendation letter's role in contributing to the  
disparity and evaluate it using inferential statistics and objective  
measures. It's also the first study to show that gender differences in  
letters actually affect judgments of hireability.

"This research not only has important implications for women in  
academia but also for women in management and leadership roles," said  
[Michelle] Hebl, professor of psychology and management at Rice. "A  
large body of research suggests that communality is not perceived to  
be congruent with leadership and managerial jobs."

The research team also noted that letter writers included more doubt  
raisers when recommending women, using phrases such as "She might make  
an excellent leader" versus what they used for male candidates, "He is  
already an established leader."

"Subtle gender discrimination continues to be rampant," Hebl said.  
"And it's important to acknowledge this because you cannot remediate  
discrimination until you are first aware of it. Our and other research  
shows that even small differences -- and in our study, the seemingly  
innocuous choice of words -- can act to create disparity over time and  

More information: The full article can be found at



Martin, Hebl and Madera's study, "Gender and Letters of Recommendation  
for Academia: Agentic and Communal Differences," was published last  
year in the American Psychological Association's Journal of Applied  
3.  CONSTELLATION - A Model Program to Promote Women in Astronomy?
From:  Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

CONSTELLATION is a European Commission FP6 Marie Curie Research  
Training Network involving a large number of European astronomy  
institutions whose core aim was to train young scientists through  
research into the origin of stellar masses.  The network was started  
in December 2006 and it ends at the end of this month, November 2010.   
The young scientists were involved in one or more of the research  
projects carried out by CONSTELLATION and receive training through  
this research, as well as participation in a variety of schools,  
workshops, and conferences to be held by the network throughout  
Europe.  Frequent visits and longer-term collaborative exchanges  
between the teams was a core aspect of the collaborative work.

As part of the project, care was to be taken to engage women  
scientists as much as possible, as well as maintaining a rough balance  
in terms of country and level of experience. The appointment of a  
network Experienced Researchers (ER; postdocs) was envisaged to help  
manage each of work packages (WPs), thereby ensuring that the young  
researchers (YRs) are also being trained in management.  Each  
institution was to endevour to promote equal opportunities between men  
and women in the implementation of the project.

Also part of the project, attention was to paid to following equal  
opportunity best practices in hiring. In particular, the network was  
to encourage female applicants, with a target that at least 40% of the  
YRs hired by the network be women. In part, this target was to be  
achieved by publicizing the significant proportion of senior women  
astronomers in CONSTELLATION. The high level participation of these  
women was to provide a congenial environment for female YRs in which  
same-gender mentoring can readily occur. CONSTELLATION positions was  
also be posted to appropriate forums concerning women in science, in  
order to attract the widest pool of female applicants. While the  
selection of personnel must be primarily based on scientific quality  
and potential, in instances of equal qualifications, preference was to  
be given to a female candidate.

Although not an original goal of the network, the outcome statistics  
show predominantly 50%-50% women/men hires:  A total of 17 young  
researchers were hired in the first three years of the network: 8  
Early Stage Researchers (ESR; PhD students) and 9 Experienced  
Researchers, with 3 short-term ESR positions available in Year 4.   
Another interesting statistic would be a comparison of the  
women-to-men salaries, but this information is unfortunately not  
available yet.

Our compliments to this program for such an outstanding statistical  
result on women/men hires!  This CONSTELLATION program just might be a  
model for future programs to promote equality in the workplace.

More details on the network and its aims and the Marie Curie Actions  
(to create a network to train young researchers) can be found at



http://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/ .

4.  Professional Skills Development Workshops for Women Physicists
From:  WIPHYS, November 4, 2010

Applicants for the Professional Skills Development Workshops for Women  
Physicists should note that the abstract submission deadlines for the  
March and April Meetings are Friday, November 19, 2010 and Friday,  
January 14, 2011, respectively. Please consider applying early for the  
March and April Professional Skills Development Workshops to coincide  
with the meeting abstract deadlines (official deadlines are December  
10, 2010 for the March workshop and January 10, 2011 for the April  
workshop).  Please see


5. Department of Homeland Security Scholarships for Undergraduates
From:  WIPHYS, November 12, 2010

The DHS Scholarship and Fellowship Program is intended for students  
interested in pursuing the basic science and technology innovations  
that can be applied to the DHS mission. This education program is  
intended to ensure a highly talented science and technology community  
to achieve the DHS mission and objectives. Eligible students must be  
studying in a homeland security related science, technology,  
engineering and mathematics field with an interest, major, or  
concentration directly related to one of the homeland security  
research areas. For more information and to apply, visit


6.  Department of Energy (DOE) Scholars Program
From:  Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

Department of Energy (DOE) Scholars Program is now accepting  
applications for Summer 2011.  Visit


for more information or to apply - deadline is January 31, 2011.

Are your students interested in participating in the most recent  
scientific research and development? Would they like to gain  
experience in discovering solutions to power and securing America's  
future, specifically in energy security, nuclear security, scientific  
discovery and innovation, environmental responsibility and management  

The Department of Energy Scholars Program offers summer internships  
with stipends of up to $650 per week depending on academic status to  
undergraduates, graduate students and post graduates at accredited  
institutes of higher education. Majors accepted include: 
engineering; physical sciences; environmental sciences; computer  
science and information technology; physics; program management; math;  
statistics; safety and health; accounting and finance; law; and other  
related discipline areas.

Requirements include: U.S. Citizenship; 18 years of age or older; and  
a cumulative GPA of 2.90/4.00.

Internships provide participants with the opportunity to conduct  
hands-on research while showcasing their education, talent and skills.  
Interns will also have a unique opportunity to explore the options  
for federal careers with DOE.

7. Knowles Science Teaching Foundation Teaching fellowships
From:  Christine Shupla [Shupla_at_lpi.usra.edu]

The application process for 2011 Teaching Fellowships is now open.   
Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) Science and Mathematics  
Teaching Fellows are chosen from among young men and women who have  
earned or are in the process of earning a degree in science,  
mathematics or engineering from a recognized institution of higher  
education. Application deadline for 2011 Teaching Fellowships is  
January 12, 2011.


8.  Scientific, Technical, and Outreach Opportunities with CAASTRO in  
From:  Sarah Maddison [smaddison_at_swin.edu.au]

The Centre for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) is a new Australian  
Research Council Centre of Excellence scheduled to commence operations  
in early 2011.  CAASTRO aims to position Australia as the world-leader  
in wide-field radio and optical astronomy by answering fundamental  
questions about the nature of the Universe, by developing innovative  
ways of processing enormous data sets, and by enabling a diverse set  
of opportunities for students and early career researchers. See


for more information.

CAASTRO is now advertising a range of scientific, technical and  
outreach opportunities spread across Australia:

* CAASTRO postdoctoral position in transient surveys - AUSTRALIAN  
* CAASTRO postdoctoral position in global Epoch of Reionisation  
signature experiments - CURTIN UNIVERSITY
* CAASTRO postdoctoral position in algorithm development for slow  
radio transients - CURTIN UNIVERSITY
* CAASTRO postdoctoral position in fast radio transients - CURTIN UNIVERSITY
* CAASTRO education and outreach coordinator - CURTIN UNIVERSITY
* CAASTRO postdoctoral position in theoretical cosmology - UNIVERSITY  
* CAASTRO research scientist in low-frequency radio astronomy -  
* CAASTRO postdoctoral position in observational cosmology - UNIVERSITY OF
* CAASTRO postdoctoral position in cosmological simulations -  
* CAASTRO postdoctoral position in extragalactic hydrogen surveys -  
* CAASTRO postdoctoral position in WALLABY science and commissioning -  
* CAASTRO GPU programmer in radio frequency spectral and time analysis  

For more information and to apply, please visit


Applications close on 7 December 2010.  CAASTRO supports a flexible  
working environment: for Australian citizens and permanent residents,  
most opportunities are available as either full-time or part-time  
positions (due to visa restrictions, international applicants can be  
considered only on a full-time basis).

9.  Faculty Position in Gravitational Physics/Cosmology
From:  WIPHYS, November, 12, 2010

The Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee  
invites applications for a tenure-track assistant or tenured associate  
professorship, beginning Fall 2011. Areas of interest include but are  
not limited to: cosmology, numerical relativity, computational  
astrophysics, and astro-particle physics. We are seeking candidates  
who have an outstanding research and publication record and who have  
promise of excellent teaching. PhD in physics, astronomy or closely  
related field is required.

The position is associated with the Center for Gravitation and  
Cosmology, home to seven professors, one visiting professor, 11  
post-doctoral researchers and staff scientists, and a number of  
graduate and undergraduate students. UWM is committed to excellence in  
research, and provides substantial internal funding opportunities.  
Further information about the university, the department and the  
Center can be found at




To apply, submit a cover letter, CV (including list of publications),  
and description of research interests electronically at


and arrange to have three letters of reference emailed to


or sent to:

CGC Physics Search Committee
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Department of Physics
1900 E. Kenwood Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53211

Review of applications will begin on December 1, 2010 and will  
continue until the position is filled.

10. How to Submit, Subscribe, or Unsubscribe to AASWOMEN

[Please remember to replace "_at_" in the below e-mail addresses.]

To submit to AASWOMEN: send email to aaswomen_at_aas.org.  All material
sent to that address will be posted unless you tell us otherwise  
(including your email address).

To subscribe or unsubscribe to AASWOMEN go to


and fill out the form.

If you experience any problems, please email itdept_at_aas.org

11. Access to Past Issues of AASWOMEN

Past issues of AASWOMEN are available at


Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.


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