Thursday 28 January 2016

New year, new challenges for Women in Physics

Gender issues are set to take centre stage in 2016, already this January we have seen strides taken to address sexual harassment within the Astronomy community. It is my hope that what has happened (mainly in the US at present) will send waves through other communities – and persuade them to revisit their policies and procedures when dealing with it. I urge you all to look up the procedure for dealing with sexual harassment complaints in your own department, and hope dearly that you never need them but you may be able to help someone who does.

So, onward from that somber note, 2016 will see the pilot members of Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) forum put together their applications for the equivalent of the Athena Swan Awards. With the awards due to be handed out in 2018, this will set the new standard for policies of gender equity across science institutions in Australia. Elsewhere, WiSENet have merges with Women in Science AUSTRALIA – hopefully making for a louder voice in advocating women in STEM subjects.

Looking forward, in December we have the joint 13th Asian Pacific Physics Conference and 22nd Australian Institute of Physics Congress happening in Brisbane from the 4th-8th December. We are hoping to have a similar program of Women in Physics sessions, and are looking for suggestions of invited speakers for these. It’s a really exciting opportunity to discuss our issues with our colleagues from Asia.

Other articles of interest Meg Urry’s comment in Nature on Science and gender – why we all must work harder for gender equity. 

The University of Arizona has put together an information sheet about how to avoid gender bias in reference writing. Find that at this link.

An interesting paper in Physical review special topics – physics education research, on 'Factors that affect the physical science career interest of female students.'

And this just made me smile.