Yesterday evening a couple of hundred women and a handful of men gathered for the 4th Annual Women in Planetary Science Symposium at the 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference.
These symposia were started by Susan Nieber, who set up the popular Women in Planetary Science blog. Sadly Susan passed away recently, but these symposia will continue in her honour and memory. In previous years they have taken place at 7am over breakfast, which was a little too early for the Earth and Solar System bloggers! But this year it was in the early evening, a much more civilised time, so I went along to see what it was all about.
The evening was a chance to meet and chat with other women at all stages of their careers, from undergraduate students to successful professors. A delicious dinner (kindly sponsored by NASA HQ) was followed by a question and answer session with a panel of 4 women currently involved with space mission. The panel members were:
who between them have taken on a number of different role, working on a variety of space missions.
Questions ranged from how to get involved with space missions, to how we can address the fact that although there are approximately equal numbers of males and females graduating with science degree, women are poorly represented in more senior academic roles.
On a slightly different note, Jenny, Torsten and Ilya will all be presenting their work at the conference this evening. Torsten also has a presentation tomorrow morning. Lets hope all their presentations go well, and they get lots of positive feedback from other people!