[ASA] News from the ASA Women in Astronomy Chapter

Sarah Brough sarah.brough at aao.gov.au
Fri Jul 22 17:57:10 AEST 2016

Dear ASA Community,

Following announcements we made at the Women in Astronomy (WIA) Chapter Lunch at the ASA ASM I wanted to update everyone on three pieces of news from the WIA Chapter of the ASA. These regard our new Chapter name and remit, our new conference gender-balance endorsement policy and an open call for organisers for the 2017 workshop. So please read to the end!

1. Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Astronomy (IDEA) Chapter Launch

We are no longer the WIA Chapter – as of 6th July 2016 we are now the Inclusion, Diversity and Equity in Astronomy (IDEA) Chapter. Our webpages are now accessible from https://asa-idea.org/. All WIA Chapter members have been carried into the new Chapter, any new members should join via the link on the webpage.

This change of remit is motivated by the need for representation of minority groups in the astronomy community. We all want to be accepted. We all want to see “people like us” to aspire to. 

We are not minimising the goal of gender balance, that will remain front and centre, but we will also address issues appropriate to minority groups. We will also consider other diversities:
- Age
- Cultural Background
- Diverse Genders Sexes and Sexualities
- Mental Health
- Physical disability
- Race
- Religion

Gender issues are themselves affected by intersectionality: The issues faced by straight, white, physically-able, female astronomers are not the same as those faced by females from minority groups.

We particularly encourage representation from other groups in the Steering Committee as we continue to move forwards (next call for steering committee members in early 2017).

We are currently building up to surveying the ASA community to determine our demographics. 

2. Conference Gender-Balance Endorsement Policy

We know that the fraction of women in science falls at each increasing level of seniority. One way to address this issue is to think about gender balance when organising a workshop or conference as this gives much needed diversity to meetings as well as aiding the visibility of women, which is crucial for their ongoing careers and provides valuable role models for younger women.

We have developed a short list of steps in organising a workshop (listed on our webpages https://asa-idea.org/resources-to-take-action/conference-gender-balance-endorsement-policy/) and for those who ascribe to this, we offer endorsement from the IDEA Chapter. This endorsement is open to any conference organiser and we are quite happy for you to share this internationally. 

3. 2017 Workshop.

We are holding an open call for organisers of the 2017 Diversity in Astronomy Workshop. If your group would like to host this meeting, please email Sarah Brough a 1 page outline of your proposed meeting and a budget by Friday August 12th.  Once selection has been made, we ask that you include the Chapter Chair in any organising committee to ensure the sharing of organisational memory.

If you have any questions, comments or practical suggestions for the new IDEA Chapter please contact any member of the steering committee (listed on our webpages),

Thank you for reading to the end!

Many regards,
Sarah Brough

Chair on behalf of the IDEA Chapter Steering Committee

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