How To Increase Diversity & Representation In Astronomy

Oct 24, 2019

When people think of astronomers, several names come to mind: Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, or Carl Sagan — all white men. But throughout history, women and other people of color have made huge contributions to our understanding of the cosmos.

Astronomy contributor Jean Creighton says that highlighting that diversity in the field is necessary for both kids and adults. 

"It's so important to break those barriers, no matter who you are, no matter what you do, so that the stereotypes that people put in their heads are set aside," says Creighton.

She recalls that when she was a graduate student, most of her professors were male and "there were certain things that [she] felt they really couldn't answer."

Creighton notes that while diversity in astronomy has improved, there is still some ground to be gained.

Her advice? Look, ask and see. "If you can't see those people, they might be there anyway," notes Creighton. "And if they're not, yes, then it's your responsibility to try and become one."