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SHE IS AN ASTRONOMER LAUNCHES WEB FORUM



‘She is an Astronomer’, the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Cornerstone Project, has launched a web forum for female professional and amateur astronomers, students, and those interested in the gender equality problem in science.

 

The number of women reaching senior positions in astronomy is still disproportionately small, despite significant increases in numbers of female undergraduate and postgraduate students in recent years.  The drop in numbers towards more senior levels suggests that scientific careers are heavily affected by social and cultural factors, and are not determined solely by ability.

 

“As part of the ‘She is an Astronomer’ project, we have been speaking to women all over the world and at all stages of their careers about their experiences working in astronomy.  A recurrent theme that has emerged from these interviews is the importance of support and mentoring from other women working in the field.  We hope that this forum will provide an opportunity, not only for women – and men – to discuss gender issues, share ideas and best practice, but to open up channels of communication for women working at all levels in astronomy and in all countries,” said Dr Helen Walker, Chair of the International She is an Astronomer project. “The forum will be a virtual version of the lunch meeting at the IAU.”
As well as message boards on issues relating to women in astronomy, the forum has general astronomy and science threads, fun and games and an astronomy feature of the day.

 

The forum is moderated by Hanny van Arkel and Alice Sheppard, both amateur astronomers and citizen science enthusiasts, and Paula Brochado, who is completing a PhD on galaxy mergers.

 

“The forum is there for people to share their thoughts and exchange information.  We’re looking forward to some good discussions on the issues of gender equality in science: successes, problems, the future,” said Sheppard.

 

“What better way of dealing with the issues than on a forum, where people from all over the world can easily discuss things,” said van Arkel.

 

“I remember I never had a doubt about becoming an astronomer but, even though I love what I do, the truth is that to be an astronomer is far from easy in professional terms. I think this forum is a really exciting opportunity to connect women working in astronomy and share their experiences,” said Brochado.

She is an Astronomer Forum: http://forum.sheisanastronomer.org/

IMAGES

Forum screenshot: http://www.sheisanastronomer.org/images/stories/profiles/forum.jpg
Women in Astronomy lunch and networking session at the IAU: http://www.iau.org/public_press/images/archive/category/ga2009_womeninastronomy/
She is an Astronomer logo: http://www.sheisanastronomer.org/images/stories/profiles/logo_sheisanastronomer.jpg

FURTHER INFORMATION


She is an Astronomer

Promoting gender equality and empowering women is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The IYA2009 Cornerstone project, ‘She is an Astronomer’, provides information to female professional and amateur astronomers, students, and those interested in the gender equality problem in science. Approximately one quarter of all professional astronomers are women. In some countries there are no female astronomers, whilst in others more than half the professional astronomers are female. The drop in numbers towards more senior levels suggests that scientific careers are heavily affected by social and cultural factors, and are not determined solely by ability.
‘She is an Astronomer’ website: http://www.sheisanastronomer.org

International Year of Astronomy
The International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) is a global effort initiated by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and UNESCO to help the citizens of the world rediscover their place in the Universe through the day- and night-time sky, and thereby engage a personal sense of wonder and discovery.  The International Year of Astronomy 2009 is supported by eleven Cornerstone projects, including ‘She is an Astronomer’. These are global programmes of activities centred on specific themes and are some of the projects that will help to achieve IYA2009's main goals.
IYA2009 website: http://www.astronomy2009.org

CONTACTS

Helen Walker 
Chair of SIAA International Cornerstone Project
STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Tel: +44 (0) 1235 446 490  
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Hanny van Arkel
SIAA Web Forum Moderator
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Web: www.hannysvoorwerp.com

 

Alice Sheppard
SIAA Web Forum Moderator
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Web: http://aliceingalaxyland.blogspot.com

 

Paula Brochado
SIAA Web Forum Moderator
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
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