AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of May 17, 2013
eds. Caroline Simpson, Michele M. Montgomery, Daryl Haggard, & Nick Murphy

This week's issues:

1. Harassment Jeopardy

2. Too Few Women Fellows Down Under

3. Blog Posts on Academic Careers

4. Talk, Talk, Talk

5. Science Wonk: New Blog on the Intersection of Science and Politics

6. Rich Colleges, Poor Professors

7. Lessons From Mom Serve a Yale Professor Well

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. Harassment Jeopardy
From: Ed Bertschinger via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

My actual title is "Teaching employees about harassment law and policy using a
game show". But the game show was "Who wants to avoid making someone a
multimillionaire" and both titles were too long. The setting was an all-hands
meeting of a university lab, where about 40 graduate students, postdocs, staff
and faculty learned about laws and policies relating to harassment from an
employment attorney. I summarize what I learned in hopes that others will find
it useful. Nothing herein is legal advice, and you should consult an attorney on
matters of the law.

Harassment claims at a university are handled under three different broad
categories: federal law, state law, and employer policies. The relevant federal
laws are the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Titles VI and VII), the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and its amendments, Title IX of the
Education Act of 1972, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with
Disabilities Act of 1990. Of these, Titles VI and IX and the Rehabilitation Act
apply to educational institutions that accept federal funds; all others apply to
employers. State laws vary of course, but generally include more extensive
protections than the federal laws. Employer policies likewise often extend
rights beyond those guaranteed by law.

To read more, please see


2. Too Few Women Fellows Down Under
From: Neil Gehrels via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

I read a "World View" article in Nature this week (2 May 2013) that
shocked me.  It is about how few women there are in the Australian Academy of
Science and was written by Douglas Hilton, head of the Department of Medical
Biology at University of Melbourne.  The statistics he gives are eye-catching
with only 8% of academy members being women … and the situation is even worse
than that low number suggests.

To read more, please see


3. Blog Posts on Academic Careers
From: Nancy Morrison [nmorris_at_utnet.utoledo.edu]

Yesterday, Cambridge physics professor Athene Donald (@AtheneDonald) tweeted two
recent blog posts relevant to those beginning academic careers. It's UK-based
advice, but it applies in the US, too.

'The Viva [i.e., PhD thesis defense] Experience'

'So, what's the best preparation for the big day? Firstly, don't worry about
what you wear. The examiners don't care as long as you turn up looking like
you're taking the exam seriously. I would not recommend a T-shirt and jeans, nor
would I feel a 3 piece suit or a little black dress is a requirement ....
Additionally, do think where the obvious 'big' questions are. I'd include in
this category
  -Why you did this work?
  -What were the most important things you found out?
  -What are the basic underlying principles?
  -What would you have done differently if you were starting again?
  -What do you think are the next experiments that need doing to follow up on
your work?

To read more, please see: 


'Will This Look Good on my CV?'

'This is a question I was asked recently in the context of outreach work (I
answered yes), but it applies across the board. For those climbing the academic
ladder specifically, it perhaps amounts to "does anything other than research
count?" I would again say yes. So what follows are some thoughts on career
progression provoked by a variety of recent conversations concerning different
levels of seniority.'

To read more, please see: 



4. Talk, Talk, Talk
From: Meg Urry [meg.urry_at_yale.edu]

Language Myth #6: Women Talk Too Much

No, they don't. Rather, they don't in every situation. Social context and
relative power determine who talks more, men or women. Janet Holmes sets the
record straight and establishes the reasons for the lingering myth of female
chattiness.  ....  Despite the widespread belief that women talk more than men,
most of the available evidence suggests just the opposite. When women and men
are together, it is the men who talk most. 

To read more, please see


5. Science Wonk: New Blog on the Intersection of Science and Politics
From: Johanna Teske [jkteske_at_email.arizona.edu]

Science Wonk is a new blog/forum by Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz and Dr. Steve
Croft, "devoted to scientists writing about the political landscape and how it
affects their work." The welcome post reads,

"Welcome to ScienceWonk.org, a home for commentary at the intersection of
science and politics. We hope to feature discussion from scientists on how the
political landscape is affecting their work, with the goal of raising the voices
of scientists in both politics and society at large. This blog is for anyone who
might be interested in how politics and policy decisions influence scientific
progress and our ability to share that progress with the world."

Dr. Croft's first post is a call to action for scientists to speak up and out
about the discouraging state of federal science funding.

To read more, please see


6. Rich Colleges, Poor Professors
From: Caroline Simpson [simpsonc_at_fiu.edu]

By Jane White

Melissa Bruninga-Matteau is a single mother who relies on food stamps and
Medicaid to survive. Her take-home pay is $900 a month, of which $750 goes to
rent and $40 goes to gas. Where does she work? If you're thinking a fast food
chain, think again. She's a PhD who teaches humanities courses at a state
college in Arizona.

To read more about the rise in adjunct professorships, please see


7. Lessons From Mom Serve a Yale Professor Well
From: Gerrit Verschuur

A Life of Science Was in the Cards
By Anjelica L. Gonzalez

I am a proud member of a small, emerging class of minority women with careers in
science, technology, engineering and mathematics — the STEM fields for short. As
a professor at Yale University and a scientist in the field of tissue
engineering, or regenerative medicine, I'm often asked how I got to where I am.
I usually respond with stories of my early interest in problem-solving and

But if I really reflect on how I, a Latina from Las Vegas, was able to become a
scientist at an elite university, it wasn't my own curiosity. It was the
influence of a blackjack dealer who also happens to be my mother.

My mother may not know the ins and outs of academia, but she taught me the
essential ingredients needed to make it as a scientist in a white,
male-dominated field. 

To read more, please see


8. 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

All material will be posted unless you tell us otherwise, including your email

When submitting a job posting for inclusion in the newsletter, please include a
one-line description and a link to the full job posting.

Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.

9.  How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter

Join AAS Women List by email:

Send email to aaswlist+subscribe_at_aas.org from the address you want to have
subscribed. You can leave the subject and message blank if you like.

Be sure to follow the instructions in the confirmation email. (Just reply back
to the email list)

To unsubscribe by email:

Send email to aawlist+unsubscribe_at_aas.org from the address you want to have
UNsubscribed. You can leave the subject and message blank if you like.

To join or leave AASWomen via web, or change your membership settings:


You will have to create a Google Account if you do not already have one, using

Google Groups Subscribe Help:


10. Access to Past Issues


Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.