I care about diversity and equity in academia. There is a large body of evidence showing that people of colour and white women are being disadvantaged in their academic careers (see for example Moss-Racusin et al. 2012 on sexism in academia, and Gutiérrez y Muhs et al. 2012 on racism in academia).
Here are things I actively work on to improve our academic community:
- Workshop Astrocareers and Diversity: I’m running a yearly workshop at the University of Potsdam to help our Master’s and PhD students develop their career skills and help them learn about the biases (and counter-measures) that we’re facing in academia.
The slides from the 2021 workshop are available here: Intro slides (kp_AstrocareersDiversityIntro_2021); notes on proposal writing (Notes_proposals); link to David Martin’s homepage with his successful and unsuccessful Hubble fellowship application materials (http://www.davidvmartin.com/hubble-fellowship-application-examples.html); David Martin’s unsuccessful and successful Hubble fellowship abstracts side-by-side (DavidMartin_HubbleFellowshipAbstracts_comparison); notes about various career skills (time management, PhD and postdoc prep, conference small talk) from the afternoon session (Notes_careerskills).
The slides from the 2020 workshop are available here: kp_AstrocareersDiversity_2020
The slides from the 2019 workshop are accessible here: intro on bias and fairness in academia (part1); elevator pitch training session (part2); more career skills (how to select a supervisor session, how to talk to people at conferences session) (part3).
- Unconscious gender bias: I have developed and organized a workshop on “Unconscious Bias in Academia” for the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s University Belfast. I have given two instances of this workshop in January 2016; the workshop materials and the results are summarized here: QUB bias workshop.
- Women in astronomy: Based on an idea by Mohaddesseh Azimlu, we came together for a group photo of the female astronomers at the CfA in February 2014. This was 100.75 years after the historic group picture of Annie Jump Cannon and her colleagues at the Harvard College Observatory, who worked on stellar spectral classifications, identifications of novae, and other astronomical topics. Here’s the photo of today’s female astronomers at the CfA, who work on topics ranging from exoplanets over star formation and cosmology to data visualization (click on it for a larger version).
- Gender in conference talks: At the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society, I contributed to a team of astronomers led by Jim Davenport to collect data on questions asked after scientific presentations, with a focus on the gender of presenters and of persons asking questions. We found that the gender ratio of the speakers closely matched the gender ratio of the conference attendees; however, women were under-represented in the question-asker category. Our full results can be found in this paper:
Davenport, James R. A.; Fouesneau, Morgan; Grand, Erin; Hagen, Alex; Poppenhaeger, Katja; Watkins, Laura L., “Studying Gender in Conference Talks – data from the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society”, 2014, eprint arXiv:1403.3091; ADS link