How men can help

Here are some simple suggestions of how men can help women succeed in astronomy, compiled by members of the AAS’s CSWA:

  • If a woman makes a good point during a discussion, acknowledge it! Don’t wait until the man who is half as talented makes the same point and give him credit instead.
  • Men must be willing to accept that diversity on scientific staff and in speaker lists at meetings is a key contribution to scientific excellence. It is NOT social engineering.
  • Male astronomers should be encouraged¬†to be put off by a male/female ratio that is >> 2 in any astronomical organisation or meeting. And then take action to fix it and prevent it from happening in future.
  • If a man witnesses other men dominating a discussion at a meeting/conference while a woman is trying to make a point then he can speak up and tell his colleagues to shut up and listen (although perhaps this too can be patronising).
  • Make sure family friendly policies are in place in your institution, even if you are single and have no children.
  • Become aware of your own biases. Note: the biggest obstacle to overcoming bias is to be unaware that bias exists!
  • Attend a training session on diversity and bias even if you think you, your group, and your department have no problem(s).
  • Do not comment on a woman’s appearance in any professional context. It is irrelevant.