|Isaura L. Fuentes-Carrera|
Escuela Superior de Fisica y Matematicas, Instituto Politecnico Nacional
|Mexico City, Mexico|
|Job Title: Teacher/Researcher
She is an Astronomer: How long is it since you got your maximum academic degree?
Isaura L. Fuentes-Carrera: Five years since I got my PhD (october 2003)
SIAA: Do you feel it was more difficult for you to get a job or a promotion in comparison with male astronomers?
IFC: Nowadays getting a job or promotion is difficult in general, but in my personal experience, being a woman has not given me less opportunities.
SIAA: Are women under-represented in your institution?
IFC: The ratio of female-to-male researchers in the ESFM-IPN, at least in the Physics department, is around 1-to-4. I would say women are under-represented. Regarding the students in the class I am teaching this semestre (4th semester of BSc in Physics and Mathematics) the female-to-male ratio is also 1-to-4.
SIAA: What is your family status?
IFC: Single, no children, parents doing well.
SIAA: How many hours per day do you normally dedicate to work?
IFC: On average I dedicate 10 hours per day.
SIAA: What would most help you advance your career?
IFC: 48-hours days! And more time for research, less time devoted to paperwork.
SIAA: What recommendation would you make to young women starting their career in astronomy?
IFC: Be yourself and love what you do.
Isaura's closing remarks:
When asked to write about what I find most interesting about doing astronomy and the way I have reconciled the different roles in my life, I was left wondering... which roles? At the time, I'm single, with no children, and my parents are healthy. I am a 38-year old astronomer, who recently got a position as a teacher/researcher at the Escuela Superior de Fisica y Matematicas at the Instituto Politecnico Nacional (ESFM-IPN) in Mexico City, who loves what she does and is having a ball. Still I wonder about the roles... Am I missing something?
Then I decided to write from the perspective of an astronomer who is not following the usual roles, but still is a woman, living her womanhood and dealing with it in a world that, in general, is still ruled by men.
My experience has shown me that I am not alone. Other women astronomers chose different ways of life. And I think that for all of us, women astronomers following our particular paths, astronomy is the marvelous cloth that embraces us through life making it more interesting, more beautiful, more fulfilling. It is the poetry that walks along with us.
If you are interested in astronomy, if you enjoy learning and wondering, as a woman I can tell you that astronomy is a door to many, many wonderful worlds where all roles are allowed. Just open it.