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Summary from the Planetary Allyship Meeting 2019

October 7, 2019

The following post was compiled by the Planetary Allyship Group including the organizers and attendees of the meeting:

The Planetary Allyship Meeting is an informal group that has met at the Division of Planetary Science’s annual conference since 2015 to discuss issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion among those who have privilege to support folks who have less. Write-ups of previous meetings are available here: 2016, 2017, and 2018. Interested parties can sign up to an e-mail list here – tinyurl.com/planetaryallyship2019.

The fourth annual DPS Planetary Allyship Meeting took place on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, during the joint EPSC-DPS Meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Amidst the coffee and croissants, we discussed several issues that span the Atlantic, affecting both our American and European colleagues, and issues that seem unique to each side of the divide.

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What’s new for women+ on the science teams for NASA’s robotic planetary missions?

September 13, 2019

This post was written by: Julie A. Rathbun (PSI), J. A. Grier (PSI), Kathy Mandt (APL), Franck Marchis (SETI), Moses Milazzo (Other Orb), Jen Piatek (CCSU), Edgard Rivera-Valentín (LPI), Kunio Sayanagi (Hampton U.), Matthew S. Tiscareno (SETI)

In this article, we examine the percentage of women-presenting people (hereafter referred to as women+) on spacecraft science teams.  This and our previous analyses examine gender presentation and not actual gender. Actual gender is not binary and can only be determined by asking each individual.  However, gender presentation is likely an important factor in considering implicit and other biases that are likely impacting the selection of spacecraft science teams. This is not a scholarly article and no social scientists are co-authors.  Instead, we, a group of practicing planetary scientists, inferred the gender of each individual who was listed as a member of a spacecraft science team. We are assuming that if we perceive an individual as being a woman, for example, other planetary scientists would also perceive that individual in that way and treat them according to the usual stereotypes and implicit biases that are often associated with women in science.  We did not use explicit criteria, but instead allowed our unconscious biases to inform our decisions. We have noticed that currently, most planetary scientists still perceive only two genders and, therefore, are likely to make decisions based on their interpretations of the gender binary. Furthermore, many of the scientists whose gender we inferred have retired or have passed away, so looking at actual gender by surveying the individuals involved would not have been possible, though we suggest missions begin doing this now.  Non-binary scientists have made great advances in planetary science, and we hope that the planetary science community will gain a deeper appreciation of genders beyond the gender binary and that we will be able to study the more holistic gender diversity that exists on science teams. We applaud the scientists that are working to change this and strongly recommend everyone read this white paper submitted to the Astronomy 2020 Decadal Survey committee (https://arxiv.org/abs/1907.04893).

Additionally, true diversity and inclusion rest on much more than gender. Studies have shown that racial and ethnic minority groups are the most underrepresented in planetary science (Horst et al., 2018; Schindhelm et al., 2019; Bernard and Cooperdock, 2018).  Furthermore, most studies don’t even consider disability status, LGBTQ+ status, or other marginalized identities. 

Rathbun (2017) found the names of the original science team members for 26 NASA robotic planetary missions that were selected over a period of 41 years.  They used the work of a group of planetary scientists (some of the same authors as this post, so hereafter we will use “we”) that went through these lists of science team members. In the cases where one of us had met the person, we used the gender we had been using for that person.  At that time we did not know of any non-binary scientists on the lists. If we had not met the person, we looked for photographs on-line and determined gender from those. In some cases, we found articles about the person that used gender pronouns. We found no cases of non-binary gender pronouns being used.  In a small number of cases, we relied on the name only to infer the person’s gender.

Our results published in Rathbun (2017) showed that women+ are underrepresented on the science teams for NASA’s robotic planetary missions.  While women+ make up more than 50% of the US population, they make up only 25-30% of the planetary science community. But, their representation on the science teams for NASA’s robotic spacecraft is even lower, having remained constant at an average value of ~15% since the beginning of the millennium, with individual missions ranging between ~10%-25% women+.  On the plot, the area of the circle is proportional to the log of the size of the mission team.

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Invitation to EPSC/DPS Sagan Medal Lecture by Dr. Carrie Nugent

September 6, 2019

One more EPSC/DPS note – the amazing Dr. Carrie Nugent will be giving the Sagan Medal Public Lecture on Thursday night (the 19th) at 7:30 pm at the University of Geneva campus (not too far from the old/down town).

Carrie is a TED Fellow and gives very entertaining/informative talks :).

The title is “Asteroid impacts and Spacepod”.

All details including location can be found here:https://www.epsc-dps2019.eu/register_and_venue/sagan_public_lecture.html

Talk abstract:

An asteroid impact is the only natural disaster we have the technology to prevent. But prevention takes time, so we need to discover and track near‐Earth asteroids now. The first part of my talk will cover notable asteroid impacts and ongoing efforts to discover near-Earth asteroids.

The second part of the talk will discuss my outreach work. I love talking with other scientists and engineers that explore space for a living. I started recording and sharing these conversations as a podcast, Spacepod.

Spacepod now reaches listeners from every continent and all walks of life. I’ll share stories about how Spacepod has changed listeners’ lives. Some write to say they decided to study physics or astronomy because of the show. Others say hearing about the cosmos helps them get through tough personal times. And some listeners have shared that Spacepod broadened their view of who can be a scientist. I love these stories, and they motivate me to continue hosting and producing the show.

https://www.listentospacepod.com/

Reminder! Register for the 2019 DPS WiPS Event in Geneva by Sept. 7th

September 5, 2019

Hey All! We still have some spots left for the lunch this year.

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Invitation to the 2019 EPSC/DPS Women in Planetary Science Discussion Hour! RSVP by Sept 7th.

August 20, 2019

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 18th, 2019

Time: 12:00-1:15 pm

Place: EPSC/DPS Conference venue, Saturn Lecture Room, Geneva Switzerland

Join us for the annual Women in Planetary Science event over lunch. All are welcome!  We will discuss professional development topics related to diversity and inclusion in planetary science.  The presentation/discussion schedule will be announced on the registration page. Pre-registration at http://bit.ly/DPS_WIPS_2019 is required to receive a lunch (available to the first ~200 registrants due the generosity of our sponsors: Aura and Southwest Research Institute), and registration is recommended even if you are bringing your own lunch so we can balance room size with attendance size. 

*Registration deadline to receive a lunch has been revised to Sept. 7th*

More details and RSVP at: http://bit.ly/DPS_WIPS_2019

A big thanks to our sponsors for this year!

To learn more about AURA or SwRI please visit: https://www.aura-astronomy.org/, https://www.swri.org/, and https://www.boulder.swri.edu/

Summary from the WiPS Networking event at LPSC 2019

May 12, 2019

Thanks up front to our wonderful speakers, everyone who helped organize the event this year, and to everyone who attended!  Dr. Nicolle Zellner led the organization this year, but the full team listed below helped with many aspects of the event. Big thanks to the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences for continuing to sponsor the event. It wouldn’t be such a fabulous event without all of those things!

The below post was thoughtfully written by Dr. Rajani Dhingra:

The Women in Planetary Science (WiPS) event this year celebrated the women scientists who have contributed to Planetary Science since the Apollo Era. The panelists invited were Dr. Carle Pieters (Brown University), Andrea Mosie (Johnson Space Center), and Judy Allton (Johnson Space Center). Emily Lakdawalla (Planetary Society) was the panel moderator.

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Dr. Nicolle Zellner started the event by remembering Dr. Susan Neiber, who provides the inspiration for these annual events. She also advertised the Workforce Development poster session which included several posters that highlight advancements and efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the field of Planetary Science.

Emily started the panel by asking what the panelists’ first LPSC experience was like?

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Announcing the 11th Annual Susan Niebur WiPS Networking Event – LPSC 2019

February 26, 2019

This year, in honor of the 50th anniversary of LPSC, eminent women who worked at NASA and/or participated in LPSCs since the beginning (or near to it) will share their experiences. Join us for what’s sure to be an exciting panel discussion.

When: Wednesday, March 20, 2019; 5:30 to ~7:30 pm
Where: Waterway 1-3 (in the Conference Venue – Woodlands Waterway Marriott, The Woodlands, TX)
Light snacks/appetizers will be served thanks to generous sponsorship from the AAS Division for Planetary Sciences – Thank you!

This event is open to all!

Please forward this invitation/sign-up to your colleagues and friends who might be interested.  Registration is not required but we would like to get some idea of numbers. Anyone is welcome to come late or leave early if they need.   More info and registration at: http://bit.ly/WIPS_2019