Friday, January 30, 2015

AASWOMEN Newsletter for January 30, 2015

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of January 30, 2015
eds: Daryl Haggard, Nicolle Zellner, Meredith Hughes, & Elysse Voyer

This week's issues:

1. Lessons from Women's Safety Initiatives in South Asia  
2. Negotiating a Single Tenure Track Offer 
3. AAS Council Elections
4. L’Oréal USA for Women in Science Fellowship Program 
5. Science Says Teams Work Better When They’re Mostly Women  
6. Super-Gifted Boys Choose Higher-Powered, Higher-Paying Careers Than Female Peers      
7. 100% of the women of color interviewed in STEM study experienced gender bias
8. Slowing down in academia: Is it worth the risk? I say yes.
9. Reasons You were not Promoted That are Totally Unrelated to Gender
10. Where are the women at Davos?
11. How to Submit to the AASWomen Newsletter
12. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWomen Newsletter
13. Access to Past Issues of the AASWomen Newsletter

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From: Neil Gehrels via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

There is an interesting article in the January issue of the Harvard Magazine on women's safety in South Asia that got me thinking about broader implications.  The article was written by Rohini Pande, a public policy professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, and is titled "Keeping Women Safe".

We have all seen the shocking headlines about gang rape in India.  These cases are getting international publicity and a lot of attention in India.  Prime Minister Modi mentioned the subject in his Independence Day speech, saying "Today when we hear about these rapes, our heads hang in shame".  Many different efforts are underway to address this crisis.  The article reviews them and comes to some noteworthy conclusions.

Learn more about these initiatives at


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From: Stella Offner via womeninastronomy.blogspot.com

In the current stressful faculty job market, multiple job offers are becoming more rare and the typical lucky job seeker receives only a single tenure-track offer. The single-job offer naturally produces a more unequal negotiation between the applicant and institution, versus the case of multiple offers where institutions can be pitted against one another, like two wrestling titans. So, how does one successfully negotiate an offer without leverage from a second option?

There are several important points that are missing from the typical job advice that are especially important in the single-job offer situation.  

Read about them at


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From: Christine Forman(cjones_at_cfa.harvard.edu]

Please remember to vote in the AAS Council elections.  This time all but one of the folks nominated to be Councilor are women!

The voting closes on January 31, 2015. AAS members can vote at https://vote.aas.org/ballot/ballot_view/21 

If one doesn't remember their username or password for voting, the AAS membership office is very helpful (email membership_at_aas.org or call 202-328-2010 and press 4).  

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From: Kelsi Singer via womeninplanetaryscience.wordpress.com

Since 2003, the L’Oréal USA for Women in Science program has awarded over $2 million to 55 post-doctoral women scientists. In 2014, the Fellows represented the fields of Biochemistry, Chemistry, Polymer Physics, Chemical Ecology, and Astronomy and Astrophysics.

The 2015 application period will open on February 2, 2015 and will close on March 20, 2015.

Learn more at 


See the eligibility requirements at


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From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu] 

In a study of 272 participants, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, and Union College found that the measure of general group effectiveness (i.e., the collective intelligence factor) increases when there are more women on a team.  This is true whether the meetings are virtual or face-to-face.

Read a summary of this study at 


Read the full study at


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From:  Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

Results from a study of students who scored among the top 1% in the U.S. on the math portion of ACT tests show that, as adults, these former “whiz kids” have more patents, have higher degrees, and earn more money.  Additionally, men are most likely to be in math-intensive jobs, while women are more likely to be in non-science professions.

“One common theme from research on women's and men's different career choices is that among heterosexual couples with children, women tend to do most of the child-rearing, which affects how many hours they can work and what jobs they can have. Whether they choose to do so happily is another question.”

Read more at


See the statistics at


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From: Johanna Teske [jteske_at_carnegiescience.edu]

[This] report outlines many data-driven examples of different levels -- from overt to very subtle -- of racism and sexism experienced by women of color in STEM, in almost every category to a higher degree than white women in STEM. It is shocking, and exemplifies how far our society is from being "colorblind". I encourage people to read the actual report, as at the end it has concrete recommendations for bias interrupters and best practices for recruiting, hiring, and promoting women of color in STEM.

"Being a woman in STEM research is tough, but it's significantly worse for women of color. According to a recent report conducted by the University of California's Hastings College of the Law, a whopping 100% of women of color interviewed in the study said they've experienced gender bias, compared to 93% of white women. Conducted by Professor Joan C. Williams, 557 women overall were surveyed (white women and women of color), and 60 women of color participated in more in-depth interviews."

Read the popular article at


and the actual report at 


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From: Aomawa Shields [ashields_at_astro.ucla.edu]

I recently returned from one of the busiest conferences I have attended in some time. I gave two talks, and went to lots of sessions. Most notable for me were the number of people I hung out with. Lunches, dinners – my dance card was full the whole week. I thought back to a time when I went to conferences and felt like an outsider. These were definitely not those days. 

Upon my return home and to normal life…I took the entire weekend to decompress... But lurking in the back of my head was the fear that once I did get back into work, I would go back to feeling overwhelmed with all that had to be done.

Read more about one person’s view of slowing down at


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From:  Meg Urry [meg.urry_at_yale.edu]

Here is a bunch of funny things you hear in the workplace – except they’re not funny!

To laugh (or cry), please see


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From: Nicolle Zellner [nzellner_at_albion.edu]

The problem of the lack of women isn’t reserved for the STEM fields. The fields of Economics suffer from it, too. For example, “research reveals that diversity in the boardroom enhances corporate performance. Companies with female representation in the boardroom clearly outperform those with no women on various dimensions including share price performance, return on equity or operating results. Despite that, there is still a considerable gender gap in corporate boardrooms around the globe. …[In] 2013, women held not even 17% of corporate board seats. Just 14.6% of executive officers were women, and 4% of these were CEOs.”

This week, the World Economic Forum hosts its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The agenda focuses on equality and inclusion, but female delegates make up only 17% of the attendees.

Read more at


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Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lesons from Women's Safety Initiatives in South Asia

There is an interesting article in the January issue of the Harvard Magazine on women's safety in South Asia that got me thinking about broader implications.  The article was written by Rohini Pande, a public policy professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, and is titled "Keeping Women Safe".

We have all seen the shocking headlines about gang rape in India.  These cases are getting international publicity and a lot of attention in India.  Prime Minister Modi mentioned the subject in his Independence Day speech, saying "Today when we hear about these rapes, our heads hang in shame".  Many different efforts are underway to address this crisis.  The article reviews them and comes to some noteworthy conclusions.

One obvious way to deal with criminal behavior is to pass new laws.  This has been done in India, but the efforts have generally not produced a safer environment for women.  The laws increase the penalties for rape convictions, even allowing for the death penalty, but have led to a backlash.  Women are increasingly subject to peer pressure to not press charges that result in extended incarceration or death of men in their village or neighborhood.  In some cases, local laws are passed to counter or reduce the impact of the wider law to levels even below previous legislation.


                            (photo caption:  women police cadets in the Indian state of Gujarat)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Negotiating a Single Tenure Track Offer

Today’s guest blogger is Stella Offner. She is an assistant professor at UMass Amherst.

In the current stressful faculty job market, multiple job offers are becoming more rare and the typical lucky job seeker receives only a single tenure-track offer. The single-job offer naturally produces a more unequal negotiation between the applicant and institution, versus the case of multiple offers where institutions can be pitted against one another, like two wrestling titans. So, how does one successfully negotiate an offer without leverage from a second option? 

In two different years I found myself in this situation: the happy recipient of a single tenure-track job offer. Many very helpful resources have been written containing general negotiating advice. Whether you have one offer or many, here is one good resource. However, from my experience I learned that there are some surprising advice omissions. For example, most job-advice panels focus on the best-case scenarios, where the job seekers received what they wanted. Unfortunately, due to the inherent secrecy of offer details, dissatisfied parties rarely broadcast their negotiation failures. Worse, the whole negotiation can go badly wrong. If this happens it is a frustrating and isolating experience. After all, in this job climate wouldn’t one be crazy to decline a tenure-track job offer … in favor of a post-doc?? Although this situation is rare, it happened to me and I have since learned of other instances where applicants walked away from their single tenure-track job offer. All the cases I know of involve women applicants, but this may be due to small number statistics.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

President Obama: Childcare is a Must-Have

Left: President Obama in the middle of saying the word childcare, a word which would be greeted by a standing ovation, and which he would say a total of 7 times during his speech.  Right: Government taking an active role in subsidizing childcare in America is currently out-of-fashion, but it isn't a new idea.
I married into a family of State-of-the-Union watchers, and I have embraced the tradition of watching the address live. Yesterday, we managed to get the kids (mostly) in bed and (mostly) asleep by the 9pm start, and so my wife and I snuggled up to hear what the President had to say. 

Over the past decade, these addresses have been peppered with words like "terrorist", "war", "recession", and "unemployment". Then, just about 14 minutes in, I heard a different word: "childcare".

"Wait, what?" said Margaret. "Is this really happening?"

Then, yes, it happened. President Obama told us that childcare is a national economic priority:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Astro-Diversity: Post #1 – The Pipeline to Astronomy Degrees

 
Dr. Lisa M. Frehill [1] is an IPA at NSF in Strategic Human Capital Planning working as an Organizational Evaluation and Assessment Researcher.  Her home institution is Energetics Technology Center in St. Charles, MD, where she has completed science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce analysis and assessment and evaluation in support of the Office of Naval Research, the DoD STEM Development Office and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  A past NSF awardee, Dr. Frehill was the PI and Program Director of the ADVANCE: Institutional Transformation program when she was an associate professor of sociology at New Mexico State University. She is an expert on diversity in STEM and on program evaluation. A forthcoming volume (co-edited with Willie Pearson, Jr. and Connie L. McNeely) titled Advancing Women in Science: An International Perspective is due winter 2015 from Springer.  In her free time, Lisa enjoys hiking, yoga, visiting family and baking.

This is the first in a series of posts about diversity in astronomy. The idea for the series emerged from conversations with Dr. Joan Schmelz, who is serving as an NSF program officer in the Division of Astronomy on loan from the University of Memphis. Joan has been involved in issues for women in astronomy and is interested in being attentive to how to more generally increase the diversity of her field. 

This first post will provide a view of the pipeline into college and bachelor’s degree attainment in both astronomy and physics, which is an important “feeder field.” Future posts will look at U.S. astronomy degrees in greater detail.  This post relies on institutionally-reported data in the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) were accessed via the National Science Foundation WebCASPAR database tool. 

What does the STEM pipeline into college look like from a diversity standpoint?  The answer to this is a “glass half full/half empty.”  On the one hand, we have seen a significant narrowing of the sex gap in high school preparation in mathematics and sciences. Indeed, high school boys recently caught up with high school girls to earn an average of 7.4 credits in mathematics and science (Nord et al., 2011).  Girls (14 percent) and boys (12 percent) are equally likely to have taken a “rigorous” high school curriculum consisting of at least four years of English and mathematics (including pre-calculus or higher), and three years each of social studies, science (including biology, chemistry and physics), and foreign language.  These are important increases since 1990, when just 4 percent of girls and 5 percent of boys had taken a rigorous high school curriculum.  Science, not mathematics, continues to be a more important issue for girls.  An additional 15 percent of girls would have completed a rigorous curriculum by taking just one more science class, as compared to an additional 9 percent of boys.