Community members interested in issues of equity & inclusion have authored a survey for AAS members running for elected office, to request additional details on their policy positions and plans related to their prospective offices. The full questionnaire appears below. It was constructed with input from the community on issues that are important to all of us as we cast our votes. A star (*) appears by the 5 questions that the authors consider the most important.
Survey responses will be made publicly available to AAS voters in read-only Google documents, and the availability of these responses will be advertised on the Astronomy in Color blog and here on the Women in Astronomy blog. AAS Candidate Questionnaire
1. In a few sentences, what does equity and inclusion in astronomy mean to you?
2. In terms of racial, sexual, gender, and disability equity in our field, what do you believe the AAS is doing well, and what does the AAS need to improve?
3. (*) As part of the AAS leadership, what equity issue do you most want to address? What challenges do you believe the AAS will need to address in the next three years?
4. How do you see the AAS leading our field to racial, sexual, gender, and disability equity while respecting the self-governance of universities, departments, and other employers?
5. (*) Beyond its astronomy-specific responsibilities, do you see the AAS responding to more general threats to the rights or welfare of marginalized groups in the U.S., even if it risks political backlash?
6. What can the AAS do or continue doing to aid the professional development and employment opportunities for its growing population of junior members from minoritized groups?
7. (*) How will you work with the AAS Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (CSMA), the Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy (CSWA), the Working Group on Accessibility and Disability (WGAD), and the Committee for Sexual Orientation and Gender Minorities in Astronomy (SGMA) to ensure that the AAS is continually progressing toward making astronomy equitable for all?
8. (*) What background and experience in inclusion, equity, and accessibility work would you bring to this position that would help you make progress on these priorities? What personal experience would help inform your stance on these issues?
9. (*) Given recent publicized revelations of sexual harassment by senior astronomers, how do you believe that the AAS could help improve the climate in our field to better protect members from experiencing harassment along all axes (including race, disability, sexuality, and gender identification) and to support those who have experienced it?
10. Do you support at least one plenary AAS session per year (either at the winter or summer meeting) that addresses community issues related to equity and inclusion? How would you use your position as AAS leadership to ensure there is ample time and support for this type of plenary?
The new DPS Sub-committee on Professional Culture and Climate implemented many ideas at the 2016 meeting in Pasadena, some of which were: a plenary talk featured in this post, more prominent displays of the anti-harassment policy at the meeting entrances, a hotline for reporting harassment incidents, and additional questions about the meeting climate on the post-meeting survey. The meeting survey will be e-mailed to attendees in the near future, please take a moment to fill it out!
A group of women scientists who have been working in Washington as AAAS science fellows have written an open letter to the US congress and the new administration expressing their concerns. The full text is below. This effort was inspired by a letter of 100 women of color and the letter from the National Academies of Science.
They have also formed a group, through which they plan to create "strike teams" of group members to address the issues detailed in the letter and other issues of interest to the group members. If you are interested in getting involved, please sign-up on their web page. Note that the letter is not restricted to issues of the US and acknowledges the global nature of science, they welcome non-US-resident-signatories.
For the past few years, the Women in Astronomy blog has posted a holiday gift guide in preparation for the vast array of holidays celebrated in December. The 2014 post included links to various shopping and blogging sites focused on science and empowering girls (many of which are still useful today), and the 2015 post focused on a gift giving guide from the creators of STARtorialist. Just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, here's the 2016 Holiday Gift Guide, which is mostly links to help get the perfect gifts for the space fans in your life this holiday season.