ASTROMOVES: Astrophysics, diversity, mobility

Jarita Holbrook

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The US astronomy/astrophysics community comes together to create a decadal report that summarizes grant funding priorities, observatory & instrumental priorities as well as community accomplishments and community goals such as increasing the number of women and the number of people from underrepresented groups. In the 2010 US National Academies Decadal Survey of Astronomy (National Research Council, 2010), it was suggested that having to move so frequently which is a career necessity may be unattractive to people wanting to start a family, especially impacting women. Whether in Europe or elsewhere, as postdocs, astrophysicists will relocate every two to three years, until they secure a permanent position or leave research altogether. Astrophysicists do perceive working abroad as important and positive for their careers (Parenti, 2002); however, it was found that the men at equal rank had not had to spend as much time abroad to further their careers (Fohlmeister & Helling, 2012). By implication, women need to work abroad longer or have more positions abroad to achieve the same rank as men. Astrophysicists living in the United Kingdom prefer to work in their country of origin, but many did not do so because of worse working conditions or difficultly finding a job for their spouse (Fohlmeister & Helling, 2014). In sum, mobility and moving is necessary for a career in astrophysics, and even more necessary for women, but astrophysicists prefer not to move as frequently as needed to maintain a research career. To gather more data on these issues and to broaden the discourse beyond male/female to include the gender diverse as well as to include other forms of diversity, I designed the ASTROMOVES project which is funded through a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship. Though slowed down by COVID-19, several interviews have been conducted and some preliminary results will be presented.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation and Heritage in the Era of Big Data in Astronomy
EditorsR. M. Ros, B. Garcia, S. Gullberg, J. Moldon, P. Rojo
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
ISSN (Print)1743-9213
ISSN (Electronic)1743-9221


  • astrophysicists
  • mobility
  • gender and sexual minorities
  • career decision-making


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