AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of October 11, 2013
eds: Michele M. Montgomery, Daryl Haggard, Nick Murphy, & Nicolle Zellner

This week's issues:

1. Results from AASWOMEN Invitational Issue

2. PC is for "please, cookie!"

3. Nailing the Tech Interview: Advice from Both Sides of the Interview Table

4. Why So Few? High School Foundation II

5. Career Profiles: Astronomer to Physics Department Head

6. Gender bias in professional networks and citations

7. Ten Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

8. Both Men and Women Should 'Uncover' Family Responsibilities at Work

9. Why are so few Nobel prizes going to women?

10. Five Women Who Should Have Won the Nobel Prize

11. Job Opportunities

12. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN Newsletter

13. Access to Past Issues of the AASWOMEN Newsletter

1. Results from AASWOMEN Invitational Issue
From: The Editors [aaswomen_at_aas.org]

Last month, AASWOMEN sent out its annual invitational issue to encourage readers
to invite new colleagues in their departments to subscribe to our newsletter. 
This year, members of the AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy
(CSWA) contacted colleagues in multiple nations because inclusivity in our field
must be a global effort.

Prior to the invitational issue, AASWOMEN had 1050 active subscribers. Since
then our number has increased to 1128 for net gain of 76 new subscribers. The
CSWA facebook page went from 767 to 798 likes.  The Women in Astronomy blog has
also increased its readership, with 9500 visitors in September compared to about
4000 a year before.

We thank everyone who forwarded our invitation issue to other members of the
astronomical community.  The increase in numbers shows how important inclusivity
issues are.

2. PC is for "please, cookie!"
From: Hannah Jang-Condell via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

Recently, I was talking with a colleague about a class he was teaching. He said,
"and the book was written by [prominent physicist]. She's a woman physicist, you
know," (emphasis mine) and he gave me a Look. It was the kind of Look that said,
"hey, see? I just praised a women scientist, proving I'm not biased. Give me a

I'm never quite sure how to respond to this kind of thing. Because, on the one
hand, it's great that they recognize women's accomplishments. But on the other
hand, if I give them a cookie this time, they'll continue to expect cookies
every other time they make some small gesture. Not to mention it makes me feel
singled out. Why do I need to be the one to give approval?

To read more, please see


3. Nailing the Tech Interview: Advice from Both Sides of the Interview Table
From: Jessica Kirkpatrick via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

A year ago, I made the transition from astrophysicist to data scientist. One of
the harder parts of making the transition was convincing a tech company (during
the interview process) that I could do the job. Having now been on both sides of
the interview table, I'd like to share some advice to those wishing to break
into the tech/data science industry. While this advice is applicable to
candidates in general, I'm going to be gearing it towards applicants coming from
academia / PhD programs.

Most tech companies are interested in smart, talented people who can learn
quickly and have good problem solving skills. We see academics as having these
skills. Therefore, if you apply for internships or jobs at tech companies, you
will most likely get a response from a recruiter.  The problem is that once you
get an interview, there are a lot of industry-specific skills that the company
will try to assess, skills that you may or may not have already.

To read more, please see


4. Why So Few? High School Foundation II
From: Joan Schmelz via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

The 2010 report entitled, Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering,
and Mathematics, by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), reviews
GPAs and high-stakes testing. The graph above shows students' average GPA in
high school math and science combined over time, by gender. High school girls
now also earn higher GPAs in math and science, on average, than their male peers
do. It is also important to note that average GPAs in math and science for all
students are improving over time.

To read more, please see


5. Career Profiles: Astronomer to Physics Department Head
From: Laura Trouille via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

The AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy and the AAS Employment
Committee have compiled dozens of interviews highlighting the diversity of
career trajectories available to astronomers. The interviews share advice and
lessons learned from individuals on those paths.

Below is our interview with Edmund Bertschinger, an astronomer turned tenure
track faculty and chair of the Physics Department at MIT. If you have questions,
suggestions, advice to share, etc. about this career path, please leave a
comment below.

To read more, please see


6. Gender bias in professional networks and citations
From: Nancy Morrison [nmorris_at_utnet.utoledo.edu]

In at least one scholarly discipline, international relations, papers by men are
cited disproportionately to their numbers in the field. David Lake, author of a
guest blog post in The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage, describes his own
experience with the "citation gap" and makes conjectures regarding the reason
for it: (1) men may devalue the work of female scholars; and (2) professional
networks tend to be segregated by gender, and people tend to cite other members
of their own networks. The post then argues that, even if there were no sexism
and no unconscious bias, societal attitudes would lead to gendered professional
networks. " ... this homophily does not require or imply any active prejudice or
hostility, just a slightly higher probability of two men or two women
establishing a professional relationship than a man and a woman - replicated
many times over." The post concludes with recommendations for action by male and
female professionals.

This post is the last of an interesting series on the citation gap in the field
of political science. Has similar research been done in astronomy?

To read this article, please see


7. Ten Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome
From: Johanna Teske [jkteske_at_email.arizona.edu]

By Joyce Roche

Many successful women suffer from impostor syndrome. Impostor syndrome is the
feeling that you're a fraud - that you're somehow less qualified than your peers,
less deserving of success, and that you'll be "found out" if you don't work
longer and harder than everyone else.

Despite the fact that I've been a corporate vice president, a president, a CEO,
and have served on the boards of four Fortune 500 companies, I struggled for
many years during my career before I no longer needed external validation to
believe I was doing a great job. Just about every new accomplishment came with
the stultifying doubt that I did not deserve the success and that sooner or
later I would be discovered as an impostor.

To read more, please see


8. Both Men and Women Should 'Uncover' Family Responsibilities at Work
From: Johanna Teske [jkteske_at_email.arizona.edu]

By KJ Dell'Antonia

Of course people cover up aspects of themselves on the job. The workplace is
generally no place for a rehash of a drinking binge or to flaunt your Axl Rose
tattoo (depending, of course, on the workplace). But when people cover up their
families' needs, they're putting family responsibility in the category of
"things we don't talk about at work," and the results are wide reaching.

Kenji Yoshino, a professor at New York University's law school and author of the
book Covering, and Christie Smith, a principal at Deloitte, recently looked at
the question of who covers up family associations at work, along with the ways
people feel a need to cover their sexual orientation, race, socioeconomic
background and gender. They found that a broad range of people, including
straight white men, avoid talking about family with colleagues, and that
"covering" makes those employees disinclined to stand up for others whose family
needs come up at work, less likely to vocally support family-friendly policies,
and can even lead them to avoid those who are more open about their family

To read more, please see


9. Why are so few Nobel prizes going to women?
From: Rick Fienberg [rick.fienberg_at_aas.org]

By Susan White and Rachel Ivie

On Tuesday the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will announce the winners of
the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics. Since 1901, when Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was
named the first recipient, a total of 193 people have been honored as Physics

In 1903, one of the very first Prizes in went to Marie Curie, and in the 110
years since, the only other woman to win the distinction was Maria Goeppert
Mayer, whose prize was announced in 1963, prior to the Kennedy assassination. In
the 50 years since, 114 men have won. All the men have deserved it, of course.
The prize recognizes the very best scientists and most important discoveries of
the day. But with only 2 out of 193 winners, women have won only about 1 percent
of the time. So why are so few prizes going to women?

To read more, please see


10. Five Women Who Should Have Won the Nobel Prize
From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu>]

By Anna Leahy and Douglas Dechow

It's Nobel Prize season! The three big science categories -- physiology or
medicine, physics, and chemistry -- were just announced on Monday, Tuesday, and
Wednesday. Of the eight science winners, how many are women? Zero!

That's the usual number of women in the annual mix. No female scientist has been
awarded a Nobel Prize since 2009. In "The Nobel Prize: Where are All the Women?"
we wrote about the paucity of women among Nobel laureates in the sciences and
about some of the women who had been awarded the prize. "In more than a century,
only 15 women have been awarded the Nobel Prize in a science category," we
wrote. While we document there some of the ways that the deck is stacked against
women, women have made and continue to make significant contributions to

To read more, please see


11. Job Opportunities

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

-Gemini Observatory has an opening for one Science Fellow at each of Gemini
North, Hilo, Hawaii, and Gemini South, La Serena, Chile sites.  For more
information about these positions please go to:

12. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN newsletter

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When submitting a job posting for inclusion in the newsletter, please include a
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13. Access to Past Issues


Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.
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