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Women Astronomers Succeed at Gemini

January 7, 2010

Gemini’s Bernadette Rodgers, Inger Jorgensen, Michelle Edwards, and Gelys Trancho shared details about Gemini’s success in gender equality in their poster: “Women Astronomers at Gemini: A Success Story,” which they presented on Tuesday, January 5th at the 215th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

The poster compares the percentage of Gemini Ph.D. scientists to that of the US average between 2006-2008 and finds that Gemini recruited 31% female astronomers compared with only 13.9% for the United States overall. Even more impressive is the gender equity in Gemini’s science management team which is 75% female with a 50% gender balance (currently) in directorate-level positions. The authors also find that the positive gender balance attracts a high level of female applicants for science staff positions and has resulted in significantly higher retention for female vs. male science staff with 88% retention for females compared with 64% for males over the same period. Compared with other astronomical research facilities, Gemini gender balance compares exceptionally well and has set a standard for our field.

Finally, the authors conclude that there remains a significant problem in recruiting female engineers at Gemini where the percentage of female engineers is at 4.3%, compared with 7.5% in the United States overall.