I currently work for Atomium Culture where I collaborate with researchers from 26 universities to create good articles for lay audiences, and then we publish those articles in 17 major newspapers across Europe. Europe is cool like that.
Last week I had a digital conference with Xavier Luri Carrascoso, an astrophysicist at the University of Barcelona and one of the authors of the GAIA mission proposal. He is in charge of the GAIA archives as they seek to create an accurate 3D representation of the universe. After discussing his upcoming article, he mentioned the Comisión Mujer y Astronomía, an initiative by the La Sociedad Española de Astronomía (SEA) to support women in astronomy and the sciences.
Eventually, I believe, the goal should be that these types of commissions are unnecessary because women's voices will be taken as seriously as men's voices in the sciences. In the meantime, they are helpful support systems to encourage passion. Astronomy is doing better than other fields; about 30% women and 70% men, Carrascoso said.
I love Neil deGrasse Tyson's passion; such a passion deserves encouragement, whatever gender someone may be, but women and minorities have an uphill battle against cultural expectations. Tyson's response to the rather sexist question "What's up with chicks and science?" during a panel discussion was phenomenal. (Question is at 1:01 of the clip, about three minutes long.)
The gist: "Before we start talking about genetic differences, you gotta come up with a system where there's equal opportunity; then we can have that conversation."
Fine's book, drawing on science for the evidence (or lack thereof) and English to communicate it, changed my worldview significantly. I'm grateful to Andrea Barrett and Cordelia Fine for being superb examples of bridges between these two disciplines. The space in between science and English is a powerful one indeed. It is a game changer. A world shaker. It is the space where we become aware of the surrounding universe and our place in it.
Which, spoiler alert, is not the center of the galaxy nor at its edges, but somewhere in between.