Women have historically been excluded from astronomy as a subject of study and a field of employment, and this remains partly the case today. Worldwide, it is estimated that women represent about a quarter of all professional astronomers. However, the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the worldwide professional organization for astronomers, found that, in 2008, only 15 percent of its members were women, although this figure is rising. In many countries, such as the United States, the proportion of women in astronomy is higher than their proportion in physics overall, both among students and faculty.

The proportion of women in astronomy depends to a large extent on the national context. The proportion of women among members of the IAU in 2008 varied from none to ...

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