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History of the CSWA

On this page, the AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy celebrates its history, as compiled by CSWA Chair Joan Schmelz* with assistance from several current and past committee members. Links to the longer documents are provided.

  • A short history of the genesis of the CSWA, by Joan Schmelz
  • Milestones in our history

  •                                                                            
    Mar 2011      CSWA 'Resources' web page established
    Nov 2010 CSWA 'Percentages of Women Invited Speakers' web page established
    Nov 2009 CSWA Strategic Plan
    Oct 2009 Women in Astronomy III conference
    Dec 2008 CSWA 'Advice' web page established
    Apr 2008 Women in Astronomy Blog established
    Apr 2006 CSWA Longitudinal Survey established
    Jan 2005 Pasadena Recommendations endorsed by the AAS
    Jun 2003 Women in Astronomy II conference
    Jun 2003 CSWA survey of the gender distribution of astronomers at major U.S. research institutions
    Jun 2000 2nd STScI survey of the gender distribution of astronomers at major U.S. research institutions
    Oct 1995 CSWA web page established
    Jan 1994 Baltimore Charter endorsed by the AAS
    Sep 1992 STScI survey of the gender distribution of astronomers at major U.S. research institutions
    Sep 1992 Women at Work: A Meeting on the Status of Women in Astronomy
    Dec 1991 AASWomen Newsletter established with 70 e-mail addresses
    Jun 1986 First issue of STATUS
    Dec 1980 Report of the ad hoc committee published in BAAS
    Jun 1980 First CSWA session at the AAS meeting in College Park, MD
    Jun 1979 CSWA established by the AAS
    Jun 1978 AAS council appoints an ad hoc "Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy"
    Jun 1974 Report of the Working Group published in BAAS
    Aug 1972 AAS council sets up the "Working Group on the Status of Women in Astronomy"
    Aug 1972 Special Committee recommends that the AAS form a group to review the status of women in astronomy
    Jun 1971 AAS council convenes a "Special Committee on the Cannon Prize"
    Jun 1971 Margaret Burbidge declines the Cannon Prize because "the prize, available only to women, was in itself discriminatory"


  • List of CSWA sessions at AAS meetings (in preparation)
  • Past and present members of this committee
  • Past and present: chairs of this committee; editors of our newsletters, STATUS and AASWOMEN; and web managers

  • CSWA Chair Term of Office
    Joan Schmelz 2009 - 2012
    Geoff Clayton 2007 - 2009
    Pat Knezek 2003 - 2007
    Meg Urry 2000 - 2003
    Priscilla Benson 1997 - 2000
    Debra Elmegreen 1991 - 1997
    Alma Zook 1990 - 1991
    [no chair] 1989 - 1990
    Lee Anne Willson 1987 - 1989
    Deidre Hunter 1986 - 1987
    Sue Simkin 1985 - 1986
    Susan Wyckoff 1983 - 1985
    Neta Bahcall 1982 - 1983
    Caty Pilachowski 1980 - 1982
    Anne Cowley 1979 - 1980
       
    STATUS Editor Term
    Katy Garmany 2011- present
    Fran Bagenal 2004 - 2010
    Patricia Knezek 2004
    Meg Urry & Lisa Frattare 1999 - 2003
    Kathryn Mead 1995 - 1998
    Faith Vilas 1994 - 1995
    Deborah Domingue 1994 - 1995
    Kathy DeGioia Eastwood    1989 - 1993
    Geoffrey Clayton    1989 - 1993
    Judy Schultz 1987
    Sue Simkin 1986
       
    AASWOMEN Editor Term
    Michele Montgomery 2009 - present
    Caroline Simpson 2007 - present
    Joan Schmelz 2005 - present
    Hannah Jang-Condell 2006 - 2009
    Pat Knezek 2000 - 2007
    Geoffrey Clayton 2006 - 2007
    Jim Ulvestad 2004 - 2006
    Lisa Frattare 2005
    Michael Rupen 2002 - 2004
    Meg Urry 2000 - 2003
    Priscilla Benson 1997 - 2000
    Debra Elmegreen 1991 - 1997
       
    Web Manager Term
    Nancy Morrison 2010 - present
    George Jacoby 2009 - 2010
    John Feldmeier 2007 - 2009
    Amy Simon-Miller 2001 - 2007
    Lisa Frattare 1996 - 2001

Here are some published documents relevant to our history. The first three are the same as those linked to in the list of milestones, above.

*The CSWA History page is dedicated to the memory of Joan Schmelz's mom, Elizabeth “Betty” Schmelz, a lover of history and, for many years, the director of the Bergenfield Museum Society of Bergenfield, NJ.

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This page last updated: February 22, 2012