She is an astronomer

Contributed by
Dec 18, 2008
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This is interesting: someone has started a group on Facebook called "She is an astronomer". The description reads:

Promoting gender equality and empowering women is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. She Is An Astronomer will promote gender equality in astronomy (and science in general), tackling bias issues by providing a web platform where information and links about gender balance and related resources are collected.

I think this is a pretty good idea. It's a new group and there is already an interesting discussion going on about what it means to be equal. Personally, I think it means equal opportunity. I'm no psychologist, so I don't know if women think differently then men in general or in specifics, but even if men and women think exactly in the same way, we should strive for equal opportunity for everyone. No one gets promoted or demoted because of gender; no one gets any sort of bias for good or for ill.

I imagine the situation in real life is more complicated than this, of course. We still see a lot of attrition of women during grad school and postdoc years. There are all sorts of difficult-to-distinguish things going on there. And I know a lot of men who are very good about gender equality, and a lot who... aren't. I still think that with time, this will become less and less of an issue, but for now it's still a cause worth fighting for. And it's not just women, of course; without breaking a sweat I can think of lots of minorities or people in various categories who are fighting a very steep uphill battle.

I don't know how much a Facebook group will help, but if it helps even a handful of people be a little more aware, then good on ya.