AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of March 16, 2012
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson, and Michele Montgomery
This week's issues:
1. Invitation to Work with CSWA
2. STATUS Doodle Poll
3. Feminist Pride Day
4. Introduction to Astronomical Bullying
5. CSWA Web Resource Pages Updated
6. Women Scientists Lose Out on Research Prizes
7. Solving the Pipeline Problem: How to Get More Women in Tech
8. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN Newsletter
9. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN Newsletter
10. Access to Past Issues of the AASWOMEN Newsletter
1. Invitation to Work with CSWA
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]
The CSWA strives to create a climate of equal opportunity in hiring, promotion,
salary, and in access to research opportunities and infrastructure at all levels
within the field of astronomy ranging from undergraduate and graduate programs
and then throughout a career in teaching, research, and/or other
astronomy-related fields.
We invite you to work with us as:
-           A guest blogger at our Women In Astronomy Blogspot;
-           An associate editor for STATUS, our semi-annual magazine;
-           An assistant on a new statistical survey of women in astronomy; or
-           A new editor for AASWOMEN, our weekly e-mail newsletter.
If you are interested in joining us as we continue to improve the status of
women in astronomy, please e-mail me at the above address.
2. STATUS Doodle Poll
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]
Can you help us track the readership of STATUS, CSWA's semi-annual magazine, now
that it is 100% electronic?
We’ve set up a simple poll at Doodle to address the following question:
Are you more/less/equally likely to read STATUS now that it is 100% electronic?
You can add your name or vote as "anonymous"
The link is here:
3. Feminist Pride Day
From: Ed Bertschinger_at_Women_in_Astronomy_Blog, Mar 8, 2012
Today I am wearing a button emblazoned with "This is What A Feminist Looks
Like." March 8 is the third annual Feminist Pride Day, which takes place on
International Women's Day. I've been a feminist since I joined the National
Organization for Women in college and am proud to greet the quizzical looks I
receive with a smile and explanation.

Feminists believe in gender equity. We believe that there are no barriers to the
advancement of women in science except those put in place artificially by our
social structures. We attack those barriers. We celebrate the achievements of
extraordinary women and are glad to see increasing recognition of these
achievements by the AAS. We work hard to ensure that implicit bias,
stereotyping, and inequitable treatment are expunged from our environments. We
know that while more girls graduate from college than boys, the paucity of role
models makes it hard for women to advance in many fields. We care about and try
to mitigate the pressures facing young women and their partners struggling to
reconcile dual careers and to balance work and family life.
Being a feminist is rewarding -- we make a difference in the careers and lives
of those around us. Are you a feminist, too?
4. Introduction to Astronomical Bullying
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]
CSWA will sponsor a Town Hall on bullying at the upcoming AAS meeting in Alaska.
It is scheduled for Monday, Jun 11, 2012, 12:45 - 1:45 pm. The Town Hall is open
to everyone, but we extend a special invitation to department chairs and group
managers (or their representatives). Please join us.
Abstract: Unprofessional behavior is not limited to gender discrimination and
sexual harassment. There are cases when "something is just not right" in the
workplace, which may involve no sexual overtones whatsoever. One such example is
Astronomical Bullying, which can have some characteristics in common with
childhood bullying. It is not limited to women. It can involve teasing or
taunting. It can be overt or covert. It can be physically or psychologically
threatening. It can come from a supervisor or a collaborator. It can involve
spreading rumors about your qualifications or abilities as a scientist. The
stress associated with a bullying situation can affect your work and your
health. You may even feel that your future career is in jeopardy. The CSWA Town
Hall at the Anchorage AAS meeting will introduce the concept of Astronomical
Bullying. The Town Hall will include at least 30 minutes for discussion and
answering questions from the audience.
5. CSWA Web Resource Pages Updated
From: Nancy Morrison [NMorris_at_UTNet.UToledo.Edu]
Many new listings have been added lately to the resource pages on the CSWA's web site:
For easier identification, new updates are now highlighted in blue and will
remain highlighted for about two weeks.
In particular, there is a new page on the topics: (1) How diversity benefits
organizations; and (2) How to increase diversity in an organization. Under (2),
more listings from ADVANCE programs are needed, and suggestions would be
6. Women Scientists Lose Out on Research Prizes
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]
Dan Vergano wrote this article for USA TODAY on 13 March:
Male scientists still receive an outsized number of research awards compared to
women, a study finds.
Women are nominated for research prizes just as frequently as men, however
unconscious bias and men running prize panels seems to be swaying award
outcomes, suggests the study in the current Social Studies of Science journal.
Varying widely by discipline, women receive about 40% of all doctorates in
science (around 70% of psychology degrees but less in other fields) and
engineering (about 10%), and have long suffered from lower odds of becoming full
professors or attaining other markers of prestige in those fields.
"A large body of social science research finds that work done by women is
perceived as less important or valuable that that done by men," begins the study
led by sociologist Anne Lincoln of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In
their research, the study authors looked at award patterns from 13 scientific
and medical societies from 1991 (206 awards) to 2010 (296 awards).
To read more:
7. Solving the Pipeline Problem: How to Get More Women in Tech
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]
Anneke Jong wrote this article for Forbes on 15 March 2012:
It's often said that women are under-represented in high-tech careers because
they're not studying computer science in school. And that's true: In 2008, only
18% of computer science grads were women—down from 37% in 1985. More and more,
women simply aren't choosing computer science.
And this is leading to the issue that I addressed in a recent column: There's a
boom of "women in tech," but a scarcity of women who are actually technical.
But it's not enough to identify the problem, so I'm also proposing some
Over the past few weeks, I set out to identify the barriers preventing girls
from pursuing careers in computer science. I gathered all kinds of perspectives,
from a 12-year-old girl in the Bronx to a computer science major at Stanford
University to a software engineer at Twitter.
And over the next few weeks, I'll share what I've learned and propose some
solutions for the issues we're facing today. Read on for the first installment
in a three-part series, Solving the Pipeline Problem: How to Get More Women in
Problem #1: Many girls don't really know what computer science is. As a member
of Gen Y, I was told from birth that I could be anything I wanted to be: a
doctor, a lawyer, even an astronaut. But no one ever told me I could be a
computer scientist. I didn't even know that was a career path.
Other young professional women share similar stories. "When I entered college in
2002," a female graduate of Harvard (and classmate of Facebook founder Mark
Zuckerberg) explains, "I thought an engineer was someone who drove a train."
Obviously, not every girl is left in the dark about computer science, but many
are. In a national survey conducted by the WGBH Educational Foundation in 2008,
college-bound teens were asked to describe how good a choice a career in
computer science would be for "someone like you." The results found that 67% of
boys described a career in computer science as very good or good, whereas only
26% of girls felt the same.
Angie Schiavoni didn't know what computer science was as a kid. "Pursuing a
career in computer science never crossed my mind," she admits. "No one ever
said, 'Hey, you're good at math. Maybe you should try this.'" She eventually
learned to code as an adult and co-founded Code Ed, a national program to
teach web design to middle school girls in underserved communities. Schiavoni
says she wants today's young women to get the head start she never had. "Girls
have to know what computer science is before they can consider it as one of
their options."
To read more:
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10. Access to Past Issues
Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.