AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of July 12, 2013
eds. Michele M. Montgomery, Daryl Haggard, & Nick Murphy
This week's issues:

1. Professional communities, barriers to inclusion, and the value of a posse

2. 2 Careers, 2 Kids, 1 Marriage: part 1

3. Chairing Review Panels

4. Exhibition Exalts Female Scientists – The Invisible Women of Science

5. Grit and Sisu

6. Soapbox Science by the Thames

7. Stella, a play about women, their men and astronomy

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. Professional communities, barriers to inclusion, and the value of a posse
From: Nancy Morrison 

Janet Stemwedel has posted a very nice article in the Scientific American
blog "Doing Good Science" on the subject of diversity in science, which I
learned about via a tweet from Peter Edmonds (_at_peteredmonds). Here's a

'People who work very hard to be part of a professional community despite
systemic barriers ... need a posse. They need others in the community who are
unwilling to sacrifice their values — or the well-being of less powerful people
who share those values — to take consistent stands against behaviors that create
barriers and that undermine the shared work of the community.

'These stands needn't be huge heroic gestures. It could be as simple as reliably
being that guy who asks for better gender balance in planning seminars, or who
reacts to casual sexist banter with, "Dude, not cool!" It could take the form of
asking about policies that might lessen barriers, and taking on some of the work
involved in creating or implementing them.

'It could be listening to your women colleagues when they describe what it has
been like for them within your professional community and assuming the default
position of believing them, rather than looking for possible ways they must have
misunderstood their own experiences.'

To read the full post:


2. 2 Careers, 2 Kids, 1 Marriage: part 1
From: Neil Gehrels via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

My wife, Ellen, and I are both scientists, married in graduate school, got jobs
in the same city, had two kids and survived to tell about it. Here is the story
of our schooling and jobs. Next time, I'll write about childrearing.

We were both graduate students at Caltech, living in the grad student dorm.
There were 3 women and 60 men who wanted to live in the dorm, so the solution in
those days was to simply put the 3 women in the men's dorm. More than a little
social pressure on the women, but the men tried to be considerate.

To read more, please see


3. Chairing Review Panels
From: Joan Schmelz via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Enough time has gone by that I can now tell this story without fear of breaching
confidentiality. I "recently" chaired a NASA proposal review panel. The identity
of the panel members is generally confidential; you don't know the participants
ahead of time, and you don't discuss the results after the panel business is
complete. I have participated in these reviews since I started in solar physics
-- almost 25 years ago. My name comes up every two or three years, and I head to
DC. The panel spends several days reviewing proposals, and comes up with a
ranking for NASA. The process usually works pretty well.

In all the years I have been doing this, I have never been part of a panel that
was chaired by a woman.

To read more, please see


4. Exhibition Exalts Female Scientists – The Invisible Women of Science
From: Daryl Haggard [dhaggard_at_northwestern.edu]

Excerpt from the blog Pandagon.net:

"Scientists," an exhibition opening on Monday at the Royal Society as part of its
Summer Science Exhibition, raises the profile of accomplished women scientists.

Women in science have an image problem. It is not so much deciding whether they
should aspire to the hard image of being a scientist or the soft image of being
feminine, it is the more serious problem of invisibility. Nowhere is this more
obvious than in our august institutions, our imposing portrait galleries and
grand museums.  There is a dearth of dignified portraits of women scientists
produced by distinguished artists.

To read more, please see


5. Grit and Sisu
From: Ed Bertschinger via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

What does it take to succeed in academia?  How is success measured?

For students entering graduate school, at least in many physics departments, the
answer would seem to be "high GRE scores." Recently I attended the APS Bridge
Program Summer Meeting 2013 where much attention was directed to another factor
that is harder measure but, many believe, ultimately more reliable: perseverance
and passion for long-term goals. Sometimes called "fire in the belly", this
personality trait is known in the world of social psychologists as Grit.  An
inspiring introduction is given by Angela Lee Duckworth.

In my household growing up, the word for grit was Sisu -- a Finnish word that is
central to my cultural background.

To read more, please see


To watch Angela Lee Duckworth's presentation, visit


6. Soapbox Science by the Thames
From: Daryl Haggard [dhaggard_at_northwestern.edu]

Why aren't there more women in science - and how can we change that?

By Rose Troup Buchanan


Last Friday, Soapbox Science made its third appearance in London. For Dr.
Seirian Sumner and Dr. Nathalie Pettorelli, who created and ran the very first
event three years ago, it's about 'making the right women visible and

Soapbox Science brings together 12 female scientists, across all sorts of
disciplines and positions, in order to promote gender equality in STEM (science,
technology, engineering, and maths). Seirian and Nathalie wanted to bring
science to the public, one small group at a time, dispelling notions of
disaffection and highlighting female achievement within STEM. Each of the 12
women spoke for an hour, standing on a box, to anyone willing to lend an ear
along the Southbank of the Thames.

To read more, please see


7. Stella, a play about women, their men and astronomy
From: Karen Masters 

Members of the list who are UK-based might be interested in the below touring
play about women and astronomy (sorry it's now mid tour):

William Herschel discovered Uranus. So what did his sister do?

She discovered eight comets, numerous nebulae, some double stars and was the
first woman to receive honorary membership of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Science has historically been a man's domain and yet look closely at the archive
and you'll find a silent army of intelligent, dedicated women researching and

This is a play about Time, Space, Curiosity and Passion: two women astronomers,
Jessica Bell from the C21st and Caroline Herschel from the C18th look up at the
same night sky and find themselves colliding in their search for understanding.
Caroline longs for a family and home of her own; Jess contemplates the prospect
of losing both.

Each woman can precisely map her position in the universe yet she struggles to
find her place in the world

To learn more, please see


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10. Access to Past Issues


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