AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of June 22, 2012
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson & Michele Montgomery

This week's issues:

1.  Feminine Role Models

2.  Incivility Among Faculty Members

3.  Why Women Still Can't Have It All

4.  Firsts for Women in Human Space Flight

5.  IAU Working Group on Women in Astronomy

6.  Job Opportunities - ALMA Operations Astronomer

7.  How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

8.  How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

9.  Access to Past Issues

1.  Feminine Role Models
From: Kate Follette via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who was dismayed when I read the headline "My
Fair Physicist? Feminine Math and Science Role Models Demotivate Young Girls."

The article, which was posted to the WIA blog on April 16th and is linked here


was published in Social, Psychological and Personality Science. Its abstract

Women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are labeled
unfeminine, a costly social label that may discourage female students from
pursuing these fields. Challenges to this stereotype include feminine STEM role
models, but their counterstereotypic-yet-feminine success may actually be
demotivating, particularly to young girls.

• Study 1 showed that feminine STEM role models reduced middle school girls'
current math interest, self-rated ability, and success expectations relative to
gender-neutral STEM role models and depressed future plans to study math among
STEM-disidentified girls. These results did not extend to feminine role models
displaying general (not STEM-specific) school success, indicating that feminine
cues were not driving negative outcomes. 

• Study 2 suggested that feminine STEM role models' combination of femininity
and success seemed particularly unattainable to STEM-disidentified girls.

The results call for a better understanding of feminine STEM figures aimed at
motivating young girls.

After reading the study myself, the bitter aftertaste of its primary conclusion
- that "feminine" STEM role models demotivate girls who are STEM-disinclined -
stuck with me for several months. I kept coming back to it and thinking "this
CAN'T be true, can it??"

[To read more, please see

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/ ]

2.  Incivility Among Faculty Members
From:  Nancy Morrison [NMorris_UTNet.UToledo.Edu]

In view of the CSWA-sponsored session on bullying at the recent AAS meeting in
Anchorage (about which I am looking forward to learning more), it is interesting
that the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has also just
sponsored a session on this topic at its annual conference.

Some speakers at the conference advocated specific university policies on civil
behavior, but the AAUP has cautioned in the past that too-definite policies
might stifle open discourse. From the variety of points of view expressed in
that session, it is clear that this topic is not as straightforward as it might
at first seem.

'Another faculty member had a simpler idea. He suggested following the ideas in
a book called The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving
One That Isn't by Robert Sutton, a professor of management science and
engineering at Stanford University.'

To read more:


3.  Why Women Still Can't Have It All
From:  Bettina Posselt [bposselt_cfa.harvard.edu]

Here is an interesting article by Princeton Politics and International Affairs
professor Anne-Marie Slaughter who was the director of policy planning at the
State Department:

"Why Women Still Can't Have It All

It's time to stop fooling ourselves, says a woman who left a position of power:
the women who have managed to be both mothers and top professionals are
superhuman, rich, or self-employed. If we truly believe in equal opportunity for
all women, here's what has to change...."

[To read more, please see:]


It was also presented on NPR's Fresh Air


4.  Firsts for Women in Human Space Flight
From:  Matthew Greenhouse [matthew.a.greenhouse_at_nasa.gov]

Space.com has put up a nice gallery of "firsts" for women in human space exploration:


5.  IAU Working Group on Women in Astronomy
From:  Michele M. Montgomery [montgomery_at_physics.ucf.edu]

The IAU 28th General Assembly will be held in Beijing, China.  The Women in
Astronomy Meeting (WAM) will be held Monday 27 August.  Aims of the IAU Working
Group include evaluating the status of women in astronomy;  collection of
statistics from all countries where astronomy research is carried out; and to
establish strategies and actions that can help women attain true equality as
research astronomers.  More information on the group can be found at


More information on the upcoming IAU meeting can be found at


Job Opportunities - ALMA Operations Astronomer


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8.  Access to Past Issues


Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.