The International Astronomical Union (IAU) passed its first-ever resolution on women on 13 August. It says that members should encourage and support the female astronomers in their communities and should work to break down barriers so that men and women have equal opportunities at all levels in the pursuit of a career in astronomy.

The resolution grew out of the “She is an Astronomer” cornerstone project of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (see PHYSICS TODAY, April 2009, page 20.) Helen Walker of the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK put forward the resolution to the IAU. Involved in the IYA2009 project, she says that although the women who were profiled as part of the project “mostly think they are not discriminated against on an individual basis, they note that many places do not have women at senior levels.”

Walker says she hopes...

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