siaa_logo_blue Siti Jamiah Mohamad-Yob siti_circle

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Bangi, Malaysia

Job Title: PhD student

 

She Is An Astronomer: Do you feel it was more difficult for you to get a job or a promotion in comparison with male astronomers?

Siti Jamiah Mohamad-Yob: No

 

SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution?

SJM-Y: Yes, there are  about 30% women.

 

SIAA: What is your family status?

SJM-Y: I am single.

 

SIAA: Have you had any career breaks?

SJM-Y: No.

 

SIAA: How many hours per day do you normally dedicate to work?

SJM-Y: 8 hours. 

 

SIAA: What would most help you advance your career?

SJM-Y: Publication. 

 

SIAA: What recommendation would you make to young women starting their career in astronomy?

SJM-Y: Always be positive and don’t be afraid to test new territories.

 

siaa_logo_blue Cécile Faure faure_circle

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland

Job Title: Postdoc

 

She is an Astronomer: How many years since you got your maximum degree?

Cécile Faure: 7 years

 

SIAA: Do you feel it was more difficult for you to get a job or a promotion in comparison with male astronomers?

CF: To get a postdoc position, I do not think the gender matters. To get a permanent position, let say I haven't been lucky so far. I have seen many men with similar curriculum vitae than me reaching a permanent position. They apparently had better connections and support than me.

 

SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution?

CF: No, that is one of the rare places where I have work where 50% of the students, postdocs and senior researchers are female.

 

SIAA: What is your family status?

CF: I am 32. I am married and have two kids.

 

SIAA: Have you had any career breaks? Did you find the return to work difficult?

CF: I have had two maternity leaves: one of 6 month, and one of 4 month. It was difficult to come back after the first break. Science goes fast: 6 months is a lot, a lot of work had been done and many papers published. But I did not feel any pressure whatsoever from my hierarchy. I am just back from my second break, and I try to organize myself not to find it too difficult. In particular, I read a lot of papers, rather than trying to do my own science.

 

SIAA: How many hours per day do you normally dedicate to work?

CF: 8 hours. As I do not have administrative works or teaching duties, these are 8 hours of research. When necessary, I do not hesitate to work at night and during weekends.

 

SIAA: What would most help you advance your career?

CF: I believe, the support from someone who has the power to give permanent positions: at some point someone has to trust that you can do a good job, even if you are not in an unstable position.

 

 

SIAA: What recommendation would you make to young women starting their career in astronomy?

CF: I see a lot of young women stopping research after their PhD. Probably they were not expecting the diversity this career offers: to be able to work alone, to work in a group, to give talks at conferences, to write papers, to teach, to travel, to move to new institutes every couple of years... This career is an adventure!  I would encourage young women not to be scared of the unknown, to be tempted by the wild side of it: among other things, to enjoy meeting new people, and new cultures, to learn new languages and to discover oneself power of adaptation...And for those who worry because they want a family, I ask them to wonder why should they be the one to stop their career and not their partner? In my case, my partner is following me, and he is more at home and with the kids than I am and he is apparently very happy about it!

 

SIAA: What achievements in your career to date are you most proud of?

CF: I am very proud of being the leader of the strong lensing research in the COSMOS project.  COSMOS is a huge observational project including the major ground and space based telescopes worldwide. I am convinced that an analysis of strong lensing this deep would not have been done if  it was not for me. My works on this project have been very well received by the strong lensing community, and I feel very proud when my work is cited in review papers and in review talks at conferences.

siaa_logo_blue Danielle Alloin
alloin_circle

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)

CEA, Saclay, France

Directrice de Recherches DR1

 

She is an Astronomer: How many years since you got your maximum degree?

Danielle Alloin: 37 years.

 

SIAA: What is the most senior position that you have achieved?

DA: Currently I am Directrice de Recherches DR1 at CNRS.  Before that, I was Director of Science at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile.

 

SIAA: Do you feel it was more difficult for you to get a job or a promotion in comparison with male astronomers?

DA: Yes, to jump from DR2 to DR1 was difficult, which is really the final stage of the career.  Also, I was abroad at the time in Chile and this made it more difficult.

 

SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution?

DA: Right now at CNRS, there are about 20% women in astronomy at all the three different levels.  But it has changed recently -  I would say that about 5 years ago, it was not like that. I think this is because there was an analysis that showed at the top level there were not enough women and they have corrected this.

 

SIAA: What is your family status?

DA: I have two children, but they are grown up.

 

SIAA: Have you had any career breaks?

DA: I had very short maternity leaves of three months.

 

SIAA: How difficult did you find the return to work?

DA: Not difficult.  I was looking forward to going back to work.

 

SIAA: How many hours per day do you normally dedicate to work?

DA: It has varied over time.  When I was Director of Science in Chile I was working 11 hours today.  Now I normally work 8-9 hours.

 

SIAA: What would have most helped you advance your career?

DA: It was not a real concern for me to advance my career and it was only when I started to see differences between my male colleagues and myself that I became aware that there was the need to have a career plan.

 

SIAA: What recommendation would you make to young women starting their career in astronomy?

DA: The situation is very different nowadays than when I started working.  I would now tell them have a career plan and try to think of their future.


    siaa_logo_blue Siramas Komonjinda

    Chiang Mai University and the National Astronomical Reserch Institute of Thailand (Public Organization)

    Chiang Mai, Thailand

    Job Title: Lecturer (CMU) & Expert Advisor (NARIT))

     

    She is an Astronomer: How many years since you got your maximum degree?

    Siramas Komonjinda: 2 years.

     

    SIAA: Do you feel it was more difficult for you to get a job or a promotion in comparison with male astronomers?

    SK: To get a job is not very hard in Thailand. We don't have many astronomers to compete with and most astronomers are scholarship students who already have a plan for their careers since being a student. It can be hard sometimes when we have to deal with senior people to make them look at our brain and not at our face. Also, it is hard for men to accept the woman leadership.

     

    SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution?

    SK: At Chiang Mai university, we have a half-and-half ratio in academic staff. But in the astronomy research lab I am the only one women here (counting from the total number of 4). At NARIT, we have two female astronomers from five astronomers.

     

    SIAA: What is your family status?

    SK: I am just married and we plan to have children in the next few years.

     

    SIAA: How many hours per day do you normally dedicate to work?

    SK: Officially it is 35 hours per week but since we are promoting astronomy in Thailand we have lots of activities for schools and for the public so we are working at 10-12 hours per days on lecture, research, and outreach.

     

    SIAA: What would most help you advance your career?

    SK: The help of my family and colleagues. Luckily they all understand my all-year-round  travel.

     

    SIAA: What recommendation would you make to young women starting their career in astronomy?

    SK: If this job is what you are happy with, be happy to do it and you will succeed.

    siaa_logo_blue Avivah Yamani avivah_circle

    langitselatan (astronomy online media)

    Bandung, Indonesia

    Founder and Director

     

    She is an Astronomer: How many years since you got your maximum degree?

    Avivah Yamani: I received my Bachelor degree from astronomy in 2003 and then received my Master degree in astrophysics in 2007, and my field of research is in planetary system.

     

    SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution?

    AY: No.

     

    SIAA: Do you feel it was more difficult for you to get a job or a promotion in comparison with male astronomers?

    AY: Well, I don’t think so.  Right now, there are more and more women astronomer in our country.  And the chance to get a job or promotion is almost equal depending on the qualification that each person can fulfill.

     

    SIAA: What is your family status?

    AY: Single. I have one brother and my mom is an entrepreneur. My father died several years ago. 

     

    SIAA: Have you had any career breaks?

    AY: Not yet.

     

    SIAA: How many hours per day do you normally dedicate to work?

    AY: 8-10 hours a day, but it never bores me since the time is flexible and, mostly, we do our work among the public which is fun.

     

    SIAA: What would most help you advance your career?

    AY: I need to focus on developing the media so it can help people to know more about astronomy. Aside from that we need more support to share astronomy with the public.

     

    SIAA: What recommendation would you make to young women starting their career in astronomy?

    AY: Most parents and also students will think, "Why do you choose astronomy?" Even if you have already become an astronomy student, people tend to ask and question you, "Why do you study astronomy?" or, "Where will you work?" This is the time you start doubting your own choice.

    So if you want to start your career in astronomy, I would like to ask you to do one thing. Ask yourself, "What is your passion?"

    If you find that astronomy is your passion, go for it.  After that you will need hard work. But one thing for sure, astronomy is fun, the universe is fascinating. In each level you will amazed by the wonder of the universe. And in every field of research, you will find yourself uncovering the universe. And you won’t stop because you will also find that there is much more hidden in this universe... and there are mystery to solved.