Why no APODs from women?

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gheiligman
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Why no APODs from women?

Post by gheiligman » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:03 pm

I just made a casual survey of the authors and editors of the images that appear on APOD. I noticed that there are virtually no names that are recognizably female. I would estimate that <5% of the APODs are credited to women. This contrasts with current estimates of the participation of women in astronomy, which range from 15-40%. Two questions:
1. Is my casual observation correct, i.e., are APODs attributed to women really that scarce? Are submissions from women to APOD really that scarce?
2. Should the administrators and editors of APOD do anything to encourage more women to submit images to APOD, as a way of encouraging more gender parity in astronomy? What might APOD do?

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geckzilla
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Re: Why no APODs from women?

Post by geckzilla » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:43 pm

For the second question in #1 you can go see for yourself in any of the monthly submission threads. Here's this month's: http://asterisk.apod.com/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=31082

#2 strikes me as some kind of affirmative action thing, which I hope it never comes to. If anything, APOD editors suffer from some degree of nepotism (certain TWAN guys get the lion's share of APODs and, interestingly, there is not a single female in TWAN) and that could explain the disparity but there's no conscious effort to exclude anyone. Looking through all of the galleries it seems like a primarily male hobby. If I had to guess, that might stem from the whole "science is for men, humanities is for women" stereotype perpetuated in the past. Women are slowly becoming more and more common in science fields so I don't doubt that we'll eventually see more female astrophotographers. I've wanted to try it, myself, but my current living situation makes it kind of difficult.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Chris Peterson
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Re: Why no APODs from women?

Post by Chris Peterson » Fri Apr 05, 2013 4:58 pm

gheiligman wrote:I just made a casual survey of the authors and editors of the images that appear on APOD. I noticed that there are virtually no names that are recognizably female. I would estimate that <5% of the APODs are credited to women. This contrasts with current estimates of the participation of women in astronomy, which range from 15-40%. Two questions:
1. Is my casual observation correct, i.e., are APODs attributed to women really that scarce? Are submissions from women to APOD really that scarce?
2. Should the administrators and editors of APOD do anything to encourage more women to submit images to APOD, as a way of encouraging more gender parity in astronomy? What might APOD do?
With respect to the images that come from amateur astronomers, it is worth noting that amateur astronomy is overwhelmingly a male hobby, and within amateur astronomy, imaging is even more weighted in that direction. I know one woman who does astronomical imaging (mostly of the TWAN sort), compared with dozens of men. That's just the way it is, and APOD can do nothing about it. (Amongst amateur astronomers, men tend to be much more focused on the instrumentation and technology, and women more on the concepts- I'm thinking of people like Ann here.)

The situation is a little different for images coming from professional sources. Their credits are often institutional, which disguises the fact that there are many women involved (although still a minority). Follow the links to associated papers, and you'll see their names.
Chris

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neufer
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Re: Why no APODs from women?

Post by neufer » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:28 pm

(Almost?) all spacecraft including the Mars rovers are female.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/17/sarah-silverman-tells-neil-degrasse-tyson-nasa-gave-mars-rover-a-stripper-name/ wrote:
Sarah Silverman tells Neil deGrasse Tyson:
NASA gave Mars rover a stripper name
By Eric W. Dolan, January 17, 2013

<<Comedians Jim Gaffigan and Sarah Silverman along with astrobiologist David Grinspoon appeared on StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson and Eugene Mirman to discuss the Curiosity Mars Rover last September.

Tyson said that he had “talked” to Curiosity on Twitter, and disclosed that the rover was female.

“That’s such a stripper name,” Silverman joked.>>
Art Neuendorffer

gheiligman
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Re: Why no APODs from women?

Post by gheiligman » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:04 pm

"Spacecraft are female"... Huh?
Hubble: male
Webb: male
Cassini: male
Spitzer: male
Chandra: male
Suomi: male
Planck: male
Fermi: male
Dawn: female?
Aura: female?
ARTEMIS: female
Jason: male
Herschel: male
Kepler: male
JUNO: female

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neufer
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Re: Why no APODs from women?

Post by neufer » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:30 am

gheiligman wrote:"Spacecraft are female"... Huh?
Hubble: male
Webb: male
Cassini: male
Spitzer: male
Chandra: male
Suomi: male
Planck: male
Fermi: male
Dawn: female?
Aura: female?
ARTEMIS: female
Jason: male
Herschel: male
Kepler: male
JUNO: female
Well...excepting for those named after real people.
Art Neuendorffer

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geckzilla
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Re: Why no APODs from women?

Post by geckzilla » Sat Apr 06, 2013 5:27 am

Hey, those are all last names. They could go either way! I have a hard time considering any of them masculine even though a lot of them are named after males. Talk about stereotypes. Maybe it's the men getting shafted on the crafts. I mean, if you saw one up close and personal, you'd perhaps think "She's a beauty" but would you ever think "Ah, he's so handsome!" Eh? Oh well, I guess it's pretty silly to anthropomorphize them either way.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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neufer
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Re: Why no APODs from women?

Post by neufer » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:01 pm

geckzilla wrote:
Hey, those are all last names. They could go either way! I have a hard time considering any of them masculine even though a lot of them are named after males. Talk about stereotypes. Maybe it's the men getting shafted on the crafts. I mean, if you saw one up close and personal, you'd perhaps think "She's a beauty" but would you ever think "Ah, he's so handsome!" Eh? Oh well, I guess it's pretty silly to anthropomorphize them either way.
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071218175652AAotKSe wrote:
Why is a ship always named after a woman?
cliveyboyuk wrote:
I think if you look you will see that it is not correct that all or even most ships have female names. If you look at the registry of British and USA Naval ships names – most are neither male nor female. It is true however that most ships are refered to as “SHE” and while there are several explanations for this, here a couple that I have seen on the internet.

Some say during the early days of sailing every ship was always dedicated to some goddess, and as a result the ship was referred to as "she". Another theory is that the crew always thought the ship "cradled" them like their mother and as a result treated it with a great deal of respect. In most Romance languages the ship is always referred to as "she" and it is quite possible that English sailors began to adopt this practice as well. Since the American Navy is modled after the Royal Navy the tradition carried over.

Then there is the contemporary explanation:
  • There is always a great deal of bustle around her.
    There is usually a gang of men about her.
    She has waist and stays.
    It takes a lot of paint to keep her looking good.
    It is not the initial expense that breaks you, it is her upkeep.
    She can be all decked out.
    It takes an experienced man to handle her correctly.
    Without a man at the helm, she is uncontrollable.
    She shows her topsides, hides her bottom.
    When coming into port, she always heads for the buoys.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herschel_Space_Observatory wrote:
<<The Herschel Space Observatory is a European Space Agency space observatory sensitive to the far infrared and submillimetre wavebands (55-672 µm). It is the largest infrared space telescope ever launched, carrying a single mirror of 3.5 metres in diameter. Herschel is named after Sir William Herschel, the discoverer of the infrared spectrum and planet Uranus, and his sister and collaborator Caroline Herschel.>>
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caroline_Herschel wrote:
Image
Caroline Lucretia Herschel (16 March 1750 – 9 January 1848) was a German-British astronomer and the sister of astronomer Sir William Herschel with whom she worked throughout both of their careers. Her most significant contribution to astronomy was the discovery of several comets and in particular the periodic comet 35P/Herschel-Rigollet, which bears her name. At the age of ten, Caroline was struck with typhus, which stunted her growth and she never grew past four foot three. Due to this deformation, her family assumed that she would never marry and that it was best for her to remain a house servant. Instead she became a significant astronomer in collaboration with William.

Caroline returned to Hanover in 1822 following her brother's death, but did not abandon her astronomical studies, continuing to verify and confirm William's findings and producing a catalogue of nebulae to assist her nephew John Herschel in his work. In 1828 the Royal Astronomical Society presented her with their Gold Medal for this work — no woman would be awarded it again until Vera Rubin in 1996.

In 1835, along with Mary Somerville, she was elected to honorary membership of the Royal Astronomical Society; they were the first honorary women members. In 1838 she was also elected as a member of the Royal Irish Academy. In 1846, at the age of 96, she was awarded the Gold Medal for Science by the King of Prussia.

The asteroid 281 Lucretia (discovered 1888) was named after Caroline's second given name, and the crater C. Herschel on the Moon is named after her. Adrienne Rich's 1968 poem Planetarium celebrated Caroline Herschel's life and scientific achievements.
Art Neuendorffer

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BMAONE23
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Re: Why no APODs from women?

Post by BMAONE23 » Sat Apr 06, 2013 1:33 pm

Click to play embedded YouTube video.
:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :lol2: :lol2: :lol2: :D :D :D :roll: