- Women and men are equally talented and deserve equal opportunity.
- Full participation of men and women will maximize excellence in
- The measure of equal opportunity is outcome, i.e.,
gender equity will
have been attained when the percentage of women in the next level of
advancement equals the percentage in the pool.
- Long-term change requires periodic
evaluation of progress and consequent action to address areas where
improvement is necessary.
In 1972, the AAS
established a working group on the status of women in astronomy, and
followed in 1978 with the formation of an ad hoc committee on the
status of women. The principle recommendation of the latter group was
the appointment of a standing Committee on the Status of Women. This
Committee on the Status of Women was established in June 1979, to
monitor the status of women in the field of astronomy and to recommend
changes to improve it. In 1992, a seminal meeting on Women in Astronomy
was held in Baltimore, Maryland. This conference led to the Baltimore
Charter for Women in Astronomy, which offered a rationale for and steps
toward gender equity in astronomy. The Baltimore Charter was based on
input from the astronomical community, and the American Astronomical
Society endorsed its goals in January 1994. In the ensuing decade many
institutions recognized that there are impediments to the success of
women in science and have developed strategies to increase diversity.
The Committee is encouraged by the progress that has been made but
recognizes that major inequalities still exist. Consequently, a second
meeting on Women in Astronomy was held in Pasadena, California, in June
2003. Participants assessed the progress for women in science, offered
insights into causes of the slower advancement of women, and discussed
strategies to accelerate the achievement of equality.
Approximately one fourth of professional astronomers are women, and the
field continues to attract women and benefit from their participation.
However, the data show that women are still less likely to advance than
their male colleagues. Future progress toward parity demands that the
field evaluate itself periodically and implement changes based on the
latest demographic data and the most successful solutions. Therefore,
the Committee, with input from both the Pasadena meeting participants
and the larger community, offers a new set of recommendations for
progress. These recommendations emphasize the academic sector because
of its unique influence on the future of the field. The Committee
understands, however, that these problems are not limited to either
academia or astronomy and calls on all scientists to work together
toward equality. Finally, the Committee advocates that the strategies
developed for the sake of encouraging gender equality be adapted to
address the even slower advancement of minority scientists.
This document continues astronomy's proud tradition of community
attention to women's issues and the formation of a consensus set of
recommendations. Without continued positive action, progress toward
diversity could halt or even reverse. Together, astronomers can improve
the diversity of the community, draw on a broader talent pool, and thus
remove impediments to achieving excellence in science.
Major Areas of Concern and Subsequent Recommendations
The following are
specific areas of concern and possible recommendations to help improve
gender equality in these areas through various methods. The individual
Advancement and Recognition,
C. Institutional Policies,
Varied Career Paths,
Cultural Issues, and