AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of May 10, 2013
eds. Caroline Simpson, Michele M. Montgomery, Daryl Haggard, & Nick Murphy

This week's issues:

1. En'hedu'anna - Our First Great Scientist

2. My Mother's Legacy

3. The BBC Academy and Women Experts

4. Closing the Gender Gap for Women in Science

5. Spotlight on Women in Science

6. Now Accepting Applications for the 2013 Blewett Fellowship

7. Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics

8. Job Opportunities

9. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN Newsletter

10. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN Newsletter

11. Access to Past Issues of the AASWOMEN Newsletter
1. En'hedu'anna - Our First Great Scientist
From: Sethanne Howard via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

[This week’s guest blogger is Sethanne Howard, an astronomer who has
held positions with U.S. national observatories, NASA, the National
Science Foundation, and the U.S. Navy. She was also Chief of the U.S.
Nautical Almanac Office, 2000-2003. Her research specialty is galactic
dynamics. She has also been active in science education, especially
concentrating on the history of women in science. -- eds.]

In this blog post, Dr. Howard writes about the first known recorded
scientist - who happens to be a woman. En'hedu'anna (c. 2300 BCE), was
the en-priestess of the city of Ur. "She was the chief astronomer-priestess
and as such managed the great temple complex of her city of Ur. She
ontrolled the extensive agricultural enterprise surrounding the temple as
well those activities scheduled around the liturgical year."

To read what we now know about this fascinating woman, please see


2. My Mother's Legacy
From: Nicholas McConnell via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

[Today's guest blogger is Nicholas McConnell. Nicholas earned his PhD
in 2012 and is now the Beatrice Watson Parrent Fellow at the Institute
for Astronomy (University of Hawaii). His research focuses on
supermassive black holes and giant elliptical galaxies. --eds.]

"This essay is about my mother. It is in part a shameless effort to
earn family brownie points by "timely" blogging. Nonetheless, my
mother's attitudes form one of the windows through which I try to
examine gender issues in astronomy, and they inform my actions toward
male and female colleagues. As I share her story I hope that others in
this forum find common threads with their own."

To read more, please see

3. The BBC Academy and Women Experts
From: Carole Mundell [cgm_at_astro.livjm.ac.uk]

The BBC, through its academy programme, has begun to try to address
the lack of representation of women experts on air and on screen. More
details and short videos here:


4. Closing the Gender Gap for Women in Science
From: Caroline Simpson [simpsonc_at_fiu.edu]

[An interesting article from a graduate-student run magazine at the
University of Toronto - eds.]

When it comes to closing the gender gap, Canadian scientists have
observed somewhat reasonable progress being undone by steps taken in
the opposite direction.
Following these statistics, the federal government commissioned a
report by the Council of Canadian Academics, which aimed to
investigate the potential cause of the imbalance, and to elucidate
obstacles faced by female scientists as a whole. While the report
found Canada to be lacking in terms of promoting gender equity for
various reasons, another article attributed the gender disparity to be
a result of women choosing alternative career paths due to a purported
'lack of interest' in the sciences. Another hypothesis could be that
women forgo advancements in their careers in order to devote time to
raising a family. These controversial claims sparked discussion
between several professors in the University of Toronto's Department
of Immunology. With support from Trinity College, they hosted a
roundtable discussion titled "Work-Life Balance and Career
Trajectories for Women in Science."

To read the entire article, see

5. Spotlight on Women in Science
From: Caroline Simpson [simpsonc_at_fiu.edu]

[Originally published in Nature - eds.]

For she's a jolly good fellow:
Creative ways to support women in science could increase their
presence and improve retention.

WHEN Jennie Lill recently advertised a senior position at Genentech,
the pharmaceutical company where she works, she was inundated with
responses. The problem was, only nine out of the hundreds of
applicants were women. “I really had to use all of my contacts to get
more women to interview,” she says. “And in the end, when there's just
not that pool of applicants, there's only so much you can do."

Lill's efforts were part of a recent initiative to increase the number
of female scientists at the company, under which managers must ensure
at least 30 per cent of interviewees for any position are women. It's
progress, says Lill, but the dearth of female applicants highlights
deeper gender imbalances in scientific professions.

See the full article at:

6.  Now Accepting Applications for the 2013 Blewett Fellowship
From: WIPHYS, May 6, 2013

The Blewett Fellowship enables women to return to physics research
careers after having had to interrupt those careers. Applications are
due June 1, 2013. Learn more and apply at


7. Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics
From: WIPHYS, May 6, 2013

[Remember to replace the "_at_" in the email address below -- eds.]

A new email list was created to share news, announcements, and
deadlines related to the Conferences for Undergraduate Women in
Physics. To join the list, email women_at_aps.org with the subject
“Subscription to CUWiP email list”.

8. Job Opportunities

For those interested in increasing excellence and diversity in their
organizations, a list of resources and advice is here:


** A variety of openings are available at AURA:

** NASA Postdoctoral Fellowships

** Director of LEOTeach, an initiative for the recruitment and
   preparation of STEM Teachers, Texas A&M University-Commerce

9. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

To submit an item to the AASWOMEN newsletter, including replies to
topics, send email to aaswomen_at_aas.org

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10.  How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

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11. Access to Past Issues


Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.