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Women & Girls Belong in Astronomy!!
By Louis S Berman
Posted on 3/15/2018 8:11 PM

I grew up thinking, as a matter of course, that women and girls could do just about anything. My sisters certainly did, so it didn't seem to be all that much of a question.

  • Write above the fold for the NY Times?
    • My sister Leslie has been an author, publicist, concert promoter, musician, theatrical producer and more, plus she decided to pursue a law degree in her forties; a JD at Cardozo for a start and then—just for fun!—a Feminist Legal Philosophy PhD at Oxford! I should also mention that she never did quite finish her High School diploma and that she's married to one of the best professional Bridge players in the world, but I digress.
  • Found a bunch of companies?
    • My most entrepreneurially-minded sister, Allison, did; far too many for me to enumerate, and that's after breaking her back in her early twenties and being confined to a hospital for months. She's a successful painter, too, with dozens of museum and galleries showings! And she's a world traveller, some hundred countries in all, yet she somehow found time to raise two great (now adult!) kids.
  • Be the first of us to own a home?
    • My middle-sister was the first of us buy a home and get her life on track. A single mom, Jocelyn, raised an amazing son—a talented computer programmer who lives in Munich—and focused most of her career on the building and architectural trades. Lately, though, she's branched out to work with Leslie as a Paralegal and Law Practice manager.
  • Manage a huge dental practice?
    • And while doing so my youngest sister, Melanie, managed to raise three super-smart and talented daughters. Molly is a Brandeis graduate, Maxine a UofM almost-graduate and Macy a top-of-her-class student who has been offered early admission at a bunch of top schools. I should also add that Molly's BA was in Woman, Gender and Sexuality Studies; naturally!

Again, I've long known that women can do it all! For my own part I should also mention that I work at Microsoft US, Microsoft's most profitable business worldwide, a business that is helmed by a woman.


And then there's my wife, the lovely and talented Marie Anne Chiment. Marie has designed sets and costumes for hundreds of productions around the world (most recently in Cuba, if memory serves), on Broadway and everywhere in between. And she's a teacher, too; a one-time Chair of Temple University's Theatre Department who won the school's highest creativity award. And she's an artist, an inspired painter, but also an illustrator and animator and sculptor and and and—perhaps most proudly—the author of countless "horrible" pirate jokes (visit


So anyway, the point of this longish preamble is that while there is no doubt that women and girls have a ton to both offer and gain from the DVAA, our organization (as well as professional and amateur astronomy as a whole!) has been less than welcoming; a grievous shortfall we very much need to fix.  To that end the DVAA leadership has made "inclusion" one of our big themes for 2018. Step #1 to solving this conundrum? Getting a handle on the problem:

Rest assured this is only the beginning!  Look for more on this theme—lots more!—in the coming months. Also, a big shout out to DVAA Secretary Jan Rush who has been leading the charge to set things to rights.  Do keep up the good work!