Women in Astronomy IV (WiA IV) is cosponsored by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the American Astronomical Society, with support from the National Science Foundation. WiA IV is envisioned as part of a future series of conferences on the theme of diversity and inclusion in astronomy, which will be supported by the AAS and organized by the AAS diversity committees, by the organizers of Inclusive Astronomy, and by other members of the astronomical community.
Why Women in Astronomy IV?
Over the past few decades, women in astronomy and related careers have made great strides toward increased representation and higher status in their profession. However, they continue to face serious challenges. Women represent significantly less than 50% of astronomy professionals in jobs in science, engineering, data analysis, management, and more. Only 34% of astronomy graduate students and 28% of astronomy postdocs are women. The numbers of women at higher-status positions are lower, the higher the position.  For women of color, the numbers are dramatically lower. For example, in the spring of 2012, the American Institute of Physics found that fewer than 1% of the faculty members in all physics and astronomy departments in the United States are African-American women or women of Latin American descent. Statistics on other marginalized groups are less readily available, but anecdotal evidence indicates that they are also underrepresented in astronomy.
In the current environment, women are still affected disproportionately by sexual harassment, imposter syndrome, and unconscious bias, and by involvement in the many family-related activities and responsibilities traditionally discharged by women. All these issues are experienced differently by women of color , who face many barriers to success in science . In particular, research indicates that women of color experience higher rates of sexual harassment than white women . The challenges facing LGBTIQA women and women with disabilities are less well documented but possibly even more serious. For all these reasons, this meeting will address the challenges specific to women and what institutions can do to create welcoming, equitable workplaces.
What will the meeting entail?
WiA IV will focus on issues that affect the full spectrum of women in astronomy. It will explore the multiplication of disadvantage at the intersection of more than one identity for women of color, members of the LGBTIQA community, women with disabilities, and other underrepresented and marginalized women. This conference will identify the ways in which the field of astronomy must change in order to reap the full benefit of a scientific environment in which the effects of gender bias are minimized.
The meeting will primarily use workshops, panels, and small group discussions to provide many opportunities for discussion, training, collaboration, and networking within and across career stages. Contributed poster sessions will provide the chance to share recent research, both programmatic and astronomical in topic.
Our goal is to develop recommendations for participants to take back to their departments and a white paper with suggestions for action by individuals, departments, scientific societies, federal agencies, industry, and other partners — actions that will contribute to equitable workplaces and advance the status of women in astronomy.
How do I get Involved?
Let us know you’re interested by pre-registering clicking here. Your input will help us finalize the program as we recruit panel participants and discussion facilitators. We encourage participation across career levels and experience levels. We expect to run lectures and panel discussions on topics of broad interest as well as workshops and small-group discussions that will delve more deeply into selected topics.
Who Should Attend?
The WIA IV meeting is intended to be inclusive in both content and participation. The meeting is open to all members of the astronomy community with an interest in the issues and topics described below. The astronomy community includes scientists, students, administrators, data analysts, software engineers, educators, engineers, technicians, and others who contribute to the field of astronomy.
J.W. Marriott Austin110 E 2nd StreetAustin, Texas 78701(512) 474-4777
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Friday, June 9, 2017 - Sunday, June 11, 2017
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WiA IV Planning Team
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