23 March 2020

Women in Astronomy: Two-Body Problem Series

JoEllen McBride, American Helicopter Museum

The two-body problem refers to the complications of dual-working partners finding jobs in the same location. This is a special issue for academics for several reasons, principally 1) academics are more likely to be partnered with other academics, and 2) jobs in academia are scarce and finding two in the same location is difficult. For women, especially those partnered with men, this becomes even more precarious as academics who identify as women are far more likely to have a partner in the same field or within academia. They are also more likely to “follow” their partner, resulting in compromising their career path for the ability to live with their partner and family.

The AAS Committee on the Status of Women in Astronomy has recognized the impact of the two-body problem on careers for women in astronomy, and frequently posted to the Women in Astronomy blog. However, our last posts about this issue were in 2014, and we believe it is time to kick off a new series, bringing in personal stories and insights from the hiring standpoint, and looking for solutions. If you would like to contribute a post, email our blog editors at wia-blog@lists.aas.org.

The Women in Astronomy blog has featured three posts to date of community members sharing their stories and experiences with the two-body problem: