The Astronomical Society of Australia has expressed their support of members who speak up about sexism. In the letter below the society makes reference to recent and highly publicised backlash against those who have spoken out.
The ASA supports members who speak up for a gender inclusive science community
At a recent European Space Agency media conference, a scientist wore a shirt with sexualised imagery of women, and used an analogy with sexual references. Scientists and science journalists (both women and men) made the fair and reasonable criticism that this was inappropriate for an official media conference and scientific workplace. The relevant scientist has since apologised.
Subsequently, a number of media articles about this incident have been critical of feminism, and the scientists (particularly women) who criticised the sexual imagery and references have been abused through social media. The media criticism is unwarranted and the abuse is reprehensible.
The Astronomical Society of Australia is strongly committed to making all of its members feel accepted within the scientific community, and to remove the historical legacy of sexism within science. Displays of sexual imagery and use of sexual references are at odds with this goal, and hence unacceptable. We fully support the members of our community who made fair and reasonable criticisms of inappropriate images and comments.
The Astronomical Society of Australia will continue to strive for an equitable and diverse scientific community.
The Council of the Astronomical Society of Australia
President of the Astronomical Society of Australia
Associate Professor Andrew Hopkins
Australian Astronomical Observatory
+61 2 9372 4849
Dr Michael Brown
+61 3 9905 4498