Uptick in US female members of International Astronomical Union

Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

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Aswin Sekhar remarks on the low proportion of female astronomers in many countries (Nature 555, 165; 2018). A career in science can often exceed 50 years, meaning that the total average number of women (and minorities) will remain low for another half a century, even if we achieve parity now among early-career scientists. What matters as much as where we’ve been is where we’re going.

As the chair of the International Astronomical Union’s US committee for membership applications, I can report that we are doing much better than the grand averages would suggest. Women comprise around 40% of the latest US intake of 212 individuals, with 43% of those having gained their PhDs after 2010. This is an encouraging trend.

Nature 556, 31 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-04053-z

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