Apr. 26th, 2013

shermarama: (bright light)
(Because of course having broken the oh-I-haven't-posted-anything-for-ages barrier I can now stick something short up without having to think about all the other things I was going to put up)

“I’m so glad to meet an engineer,” she enthused, “all the other women I talked to here were in marketing or law or something. I thought it was meant to be about IT.”

Which is the story of a woman who works in computing going to an event designed for school-age girls to meet women who work in IT, which covers one large reason I generally stayed away from all the Women In Science And Engineering events. They were mostly full of women who didn't really do science and engineering. (The other is that I really don't like being told I should socialise, network or otherwise bond with particular people just because we're the same gender, rather than because we've got something that's important to us in common. (Maybe lots of women have 'being a woman' as something important to them?))

I can't remember why I was looking at something involving QMUL's WISE group a few months ago, but I discovered that the main people running it were two sociologists and a sound artist, which, you know, I don't care what technology you use to make sounds, it's still being done for the purposes of art, not science or engineering. Generally in the past if I've wanted to talk to people who were actually enthusiastic about science and engineering, I've talked to other people who are studying it or working in it, not people who enjoy going to events which are based around the sociology of women in science. I don't have a problem with people who have an interest in the sociology of women in science, I'm just not very interested in it myself, or at least much, much less interested in it than I am in actual science. But, I'm really not keen on the people who do that being taken as, because they declare themselves to be, representative of women working in science and technology.

This article, though, makes me wonder if I should start going to events like this after all. If I think these sorts of events ought to go away because their unrepresentative cross-section makes them more of a barrier than an encouragement, perhaps I should make the effort to make them more representative? To break down the barrier and let some girl who's still at school know that it's not all sociologists and lawyers? Or maybe, you know, we should stop telling schoolgirls that women going into science and technology still need specialist support networks to do so?

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Sherm

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