First rule of Science Club: We don’t talk about lack of girls in Science Club

ENIAC_scientists_holding_various_parts_of_the_computer

I was beyond thrilled when my third-grade daughter signed up for Science Club as her choice of after-school program this year. Make crazy experiments that will impress your friends! was enough description for her. While she is no stranger to the ballet barre and My Little Pony marathons, she calls science her favorite subject. Her most recent library treasure is the Mythbusters book of experiments, and all I know about it is that I’m supposed to now go out and buy corn starch and a drop cloth, and I’m a little nervous.

What surprised me, however, was that Thalia told me she’s only one of 6 girls in the club. Out of about 30. And this is in Liberal York City.

It never crossed my mind that this wouldn’t be a popular class with girls, especially with one of the most coveted teachers in the school.

Certainly there are a number of reasons that girls don’t pursue science/technology/engineering/mathematical (STEM) related passions–gender bias in the classroom (yay, my mom gets a quote in that piece), toy stores that put the science kits in the boys’ aisle, computer classes overwhelmingly targeted to boys, lack of visible female role models. However that is where my agreements with The Kernel Editor Milo Yiannopoulous’ The Lady Doth Protest Too Much takedown of women in tech starts and ends.

Oh, this article is juicy my friends. SEO’d, maximized for quotability,  linkbait ready–and I’m biting.

The “women in tech” experiment has been a disaster, he writes. Then goes on to explain that the tech industry is not sexist. In fact, not only is it not sexist but it’s one of the most welcoming meritocracies of any industry I’ve ever worked in. And so shot through is it with well-meaning, bien pensant metropolitan liberalism it’s in fact perpetually bending over double to provide quotas, positive discrimination and excess airtime. . . .

Wow. 

The only thing more awesome than bearing witness to White Male Privilege (a phrase he claims he is unfamiliar with) is British White Male Privilege.

Milo believes that the women in tech movement has done damage to gender equality (uh…) then goes on to compare women in tech to “hysterical shrieking activists” of the climate change movement, only one paragraph before explaining that there is no sexism in the tech industry.

When was the last time you heard a man called hysterical and shrieking?

(What? It’s not sexist if it’s true, Liz. Duh.)

I’d also like to point out that the protest photo The Kernel used to illustrate the portrait of these awful wimmin tech evangelists, is actually Hossam el-Hamalawy’s photo of women (and men) chanting for Egyptian regime change in Tahrir Square in 2011. To stick it under a snarky little headline about “ladies protesting too much”…well, I’ll let you decide on the thoughtfulness of that decision.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 11.28.42 AM

Oh you women. Always complaining about something.

Here are some other ironic gems about women in Milo’s (mind if I call you Milo? Because I feel very close to you right now, Milo…) hysterical, shrieking screed on the lack of sexism towards women in tech:

*Few women in tech organisations actually do anything about women’s education. The majority of them certainly do a lot of talking about it, of course. And boy, do they love to talk.

*Women simply don’t want to do these sorts of jobs. But you’re not supposed to say that…because it makes them question their own femininity.

*There’s nothing wrong with [female tech activists], of course, besides their thin skins and attitude problems

*Poisoning a generation of men by inflicting on them inferior candidates via quota can only ever stoke resentment and confusion. 

*One in four technology jobs in the US are already held by women. That really isn’t a shameful statistic.

*I do find male women in tech activists deeply mystifying.

David Wescott , Vivek Wadhwa, Anil Dash, Guy Kawaski: You are DEEPLY MYSTIFYING. If I were you, I’d put that on your LinkedIn profiles right away because I would endorse you for that skill in a heartbeat.

Also, it will look better than “dickless wonders” which is how Milo previously referred to you, only now with 1.65% more remorse about it.

It’s worth noting as well that the author feels that women in tech are “uninteresting” as a group of entrepreneurs to care about, and that it’s of far more value to consider underrepresented minorities or gays. As if it’s an either/or situation. Then again, I’m not so sure there’s any “underrepresented minority male” coder who has been threatened with torture, death and gang rape on a mass scale by peers in the tech industry, nor do I hope they ever are.

So maybe we should keep discussing women in tech after all. Even if it is uninteresting.

In any case, I have a plan.

I kind of like it.

I cordially invite Milo to walk the aisles of CES with me in January. Dressed like a woman. Tootsie style.

I’ve seen his pictures. He’s pretty. I think he could pull it off.

I’ll even provide a jaunty scarf.

I guess I’d like him to witness first-hand the “lack of sexism” at the conference in the proliferation of booth babes, the dearth of women keynote speakers (despite the numerous women qualified to speak about tech ), the reps who ask me if perhaps I can’t work their craptastic iPhone charging case because I’m afraid to break a nail.

booth babes at ces

The traditional female uniform of CES. Ass cheeks sold separately. 

I invite him to sit down with Old Boys’ Club VCs and see if he makes more or less headway than he would with his penis not taped down under his legs. Or whether he can get  a meeting at all. I invite him to pitch the launch of a groundbreaking and now successful female-targeted tech site to a major tech news blog and see if they have any interest in covering it, or whether they’re just too busy pointing out that People’s Sexiest Man Alive issue is now on Facebook.

Yeah, there is sexism in science and technology careers. Crap tons of it.

And I’m tired of people who don’t see it themselves denying that it exists.

Claire Cain Miller summarized a recent study in the New York Times this year writing, “The rate at which women leave the tech industry is double the rate of men…the reasons include lack of promotions, time away from their families and aversion to company cultures.”

So I think we’re going to keep talking about women in tech. We we will keep calling out the Twitters of the world for underrepresentation of women (and yes, minorities) in the upper echelons, cheering on the Angela Ahrendts, trying to make progress even and especially when we’re told it’s silly and uninteresting, and as parents, remembering to buy our daughters’ friends science kits and computer programming games for their birthdays too.

We’re going to keep trying to figure out why girls’ math and science grades are higher than boys‘, and yet something is keeping them out of STEM professions later on; or if they do enter them, they leave, and not because they’re unqualified quota-fillers.

Hey, maybe with my experiment, Milo will even help me figure it all out. Never know.

I can only tell him he might find it nice to be on the right side of history on this one.

{55 Comments}

55 thoughts on “First rule of Science Club: We don’t talk about lack of girls in Science Club”

  1. Thank you, Liz. I was just talking with my husband last night about how when there are things I want to speak up about, decry, or simply weigh in on, I have to consider my approach and weigh my words carefully. Which isn’t to say that everyone shouldn’t be doing that, but in my case, in order to be heard I have to construct things in such a way that I cannot be accused of shrieking or overreacting. Most of the time any reaction is considered an over reaction when it pertains to issues impacting women—pay, tech, birth control, rape.

    Please keep telling us about Science Club, keep acing it with Cool Mom Tech, and continue using your voice unapologetically. You are amazing.

    Most importantly, keep being such an incredibly positive template for using your mind and your wit for those incredible girls of yours.

    1. Thank you Amanda for your thoughtfulness as always. You bring up a great point: Everything we say in a business context, we have to think twice about how we say it, how it might be (mis)interpreted, how strength can be seen as bitchiness or collaboration as weakness. I don’t think men understand this. And I don’t mean that as a put-down.

      I remember Richard Pryor once saying to (maybe) Johnny Carson that there isn’t a day that goes by that he thinks about being White, but there isn’t a day that goes by that Pryor doesn’t think about being Black. Obviously I can’t relate to that specifically–but I do have to think about being a woman daily.

      It’s not just tech of course; sexism exists everywhere. We can’t stop talking about it.

  2. This makes me feel face punchy. Or balls kicky. Or both. Perhaps after my blood pressure returns to normal I’ll have something more coherent to say.

  3. You know one of the saddest things about all of this, at least to me? Tech COULD be one of the most meritocratic fields if it really wanted to. We use code tests to check programming skills before we hire… but the problem is that we apply bias before the applicant even gets to that stage. Our VCs talk about using data to drive their decisions, but fail to see how they set up conditions that persistently favor founders of one type, thereby producing the data that “prove” that type of founder is most successful.

    I would still encourage young women to pursue careers in science and tech (my own career straddles the two fields). Sexism is pervasive in our culture, and it shows up in other fields, too. At least in tech, you can be well paid while dealing with the sexism. And really, I still love the feeling of creating something new on the computer, or of figuring out something new about our world using science. I refuse to give that up.

  4. I am too weak to actually click and read this post. I’m afraid my blood pressure won’t be able to take it. I will say this: Before my life *on* the Internet, I had my life helping create the products that *deliver* the Internet. I’ve been in tech in one form or another for more than 16 years. And been the only woman in the room or on a speaking roster countless times. And particularly in these past nine years of advocacy for women in tech and online via BlogHer, I’ve come to accept that when I get that umpteenth email touting a conference or pitch competition, for example, featuring a nearly 100% male, and 95% white speaking roster or judging panel…***it is on purpose***.

    I’m not saying it was (necessarily) a pre-meditated decision, but nonetheless, a decision has been made the second that email gets sent. A decision that achieving anything more diverse or even representative is not that person’s problem…probably because they secretly think just what this guy thinks and says out loud.

    These are not stupid people who don’t notice the blinding homogeneity of their choices. These are callow people who do not care to do their jobs…especially if it’s actually a little bit of work.

    And that’s just ONE symptom. One.

    1. Elisa I really respect your opinion on this. I know you’ve lived it for a really long time, and that it’s part of the reason you started BlogHer.

      If you ever get around to making it through the editorial piece (hard to call it an article really), I’d love your other thoughts.

  5. My daughter is a senior in high school and she is one of TWO girls in her physics class, one of FOUR girls in Chemistry and one of three in calculus. My kid, a girl, has the highest marks in all of those classes and yet when she announced she wanted to go on to study physics in university she was met with blank looks and incredulous responses. Something is systemically wrong with how females are treated when it comes to science and tech and it starts very early. I don’t know how to fix it, but I do hope a solution is found.

  6. There are a lot of stories out there that Mr. Linkbait McTroll ignores. This one, from earlier in 2013 and from a fellow England resident no less, is horrifying:

    http://www.sazzy.co.uk/2013/02/speaking-up/

    Sexism not only exists, I posit that it is at its very worse from socially maladjusted nerds working in tech. Also, dude is sorely missing the ironies in his post by exhibiting the very sexism with his own words (!!!), he says doesn’t exist.

    1. That is terrifying Jon. I’m glad you shared it–and that she had the courage to in the first place.

      And yeah, the irony is beautiful. He’s his own best argument against his own points.

      Thanks for being another DEEPLY MYSTIFYING man. You all make the world go round.

  7. I just spent time with a class full of women tech entrepreneurs thanks to a woman named Bernie Dixon who IS doing something about educating women in tech, teaching us to be leaders and CEOs. Bernie is the CEO of Advising Angels, the founder of Launchpad 2X, the chair of the board of Atlanta Technology Angels and former Vice President, Hewlett-Packard Services Americas, among many other things. She could tell silly Milo a thing or two about women in tech, and boy would I love to see that happen. So could Elisa Camahort, who commented above. As could you, Liz. As could so many other women that I’ve come to know and love who are kicking ass and taking names in the tech space. This guy needs some Google Glasses, because he obviously can’t see what’s going on right in front of him.

  8. Has Milo ever worked in tech? I don’t meaning writing about tech or working as a marketeer for tech. I mean getting shoulder-deep in some code or caressing a beautiful new wafer or … anything tech-ish in any technology field. His bio doesn’t mention any experience here, so I’d be curious to know if he pulled his sexism out of his arse or if it’s been perched on his nose for years, coloring his view of the field.

    1. I write about tech as a user, not an industry insider so I can’t fault him for that. However I have no idea where he gets his opinions about women from. I’d love to ask his mother.

      1. Can I make the argument here that you are a user AND an insider? You’ve co-created two websites that are filling the unmet needs of a very valuable target audience, both of which have a lot of upside potential and economic value. I’m imagining that a lot of men who’ve created online media would consider themselves tech insiders. Just a thought …

  9. Cracking me up…but I enjoyed reading this. Something to think about:

    I once sat on a corporate board with Larry Summers – at a company called Revolution Money. This was when he had to go into the private sector after his foot-in-mouth disease that led him to step-down as Prez at Harvard in 2005 (see “Differences in Sexes” section in Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers). Although his message at the symposium was fairly clear and concise, albeit provocative, the reception of his comments in the media afterward were violent. He didn’t help himself either with garbled and completely butchered comments and mea culpas (I am positive he is on the Spectrum…more on that later). He did actually have some interesting observations about the possible causes for the lack of women in the Science professoriate at universities and, therfore Math and tech. The under-representation of women he believes is due primarily, but not totally, to the wider variance in aptitude among men than women. On any normal distribution of IQ, and particularly intelligence tests related to Math, Science, and analytics, the tails are simply much fatter for men than for women, i.e, the bell curve is shorter and wider for men leading to greater variance among men, with long (fat) tails, meaning there are both more very intelligent and very stupid men across a given population than there are women. This is not a statement about any specific woman’s attributes, nor a statement about women’s potential in Math and Science. His message was that because of these long tails, there are simply more men than women on the right side of the intelligence normal distribution curve, and because of this there will always be an imbalance of talent and intelligence in highly competitive fields such as Math and Science. Summers’s message was completely hijacked by the media as an example of his personal bias against women as well as institutional bias. In any case, while serving on this board with Larry, we had multiple conversations about this topic, and other controversial topics, and he actually had a lot insight about this subject and many others. That said, the man played Brickbreaker in meetings constantly. However, to his credit he was able to look up from his game not having missed any of the discussion whatsoever. All the while having crumbs from lunch an hour earlier still sitting in the corners of his mouth and on his chin.
    http://media.swarthmore.edu/bulletin/?p=145

    1. Thanks Andy (and for pointing me to the original article). I remember the Larry Summers incident as well. I think that aptitude/intelligence is often confused with learned skills. As I linked in the post, girls actually outperform boys in math and science and then…what changes?
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23181672

      And how come only in the US do boys outperform girls in this science test given to high school Sophmores, while girls do better in 65 other countries?
      http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/02/04/science/girls-lead-in-science-exam-but-not-in-the-united-states.html
      (This one actually mentions Summers.)

      I don’t know Summers personally like you do, but I don’t believe his comments were unfairly hijacked. I think he was pretty clear. “Intelligence” tests measure more than aptitude and are widely criticized for cultural, socioeconomic and gender bias. I know this is getting off-topic, but there was recently a study that demonstrated African-American students did significantly worse on standardized testing when they had to fill out a “race” checkbox before the test. Fascinating.

      Let’s get beers and talk about it!

      1. WOW thank you Jake. That’s fascinating research (or what I understand of it …I’m definitely not a statistician!). It also jibes with the link I posted above about gender differences in testing performance from country to country.

        The conclusion, for readers here: Eliminating gender discrimination in pay and employment opportunities could be a win-win formula for producing an adequate supply of future workers with high-level competence in mathematics. Wealthy countries that fail to provide gender equity in employment are at risk of producing too few citizens of either gender with the skills necessary to compete successfully in a knowledge-based economy driven by science and technology.

        I really appreciate all these links from everyone. I’m learning so much from you all today!

  10. Im my liberal MD suburb of DC, our liberal public school has a male 4th grade and a male 5th grade teacher (2 of 3 male teachers in the school). They are seen as the math and science experts even though their female colleagues are just as qualified to teach those classes. My 5th grade daughter is in the advanced math class, and on parent visitation day I noticed that 2/3 of the students are boys. Ugh!

    My neighbor works in IT and recently went to a conference for women in IT. She said it was the first time she’d been around more than 1 other woman in her field.

    I have no suggestions but just bring up these examples to reiterate how wrong our friend Milo is.

  11. I don’t want to say this is as simplistic as the “You kinda have to be know to know one,” but hey, maybe it is.

    It’s INCREDIBLY hard (read: nearly impossible) to truly talk in some sort of firsthand knowledgable way about gender bias when you are not of that gender.

    Not to say there aren’t plenty of dudes who totally get that there is it. #empathyishot We need those dudes to be writing pieces in WSJ and not this tool.

    1. I think you have to be willing to acknowledge that what you see is not the entire picture, at the very least. And to realize it is never a good idea to tell anyone – male, female, young, old, black, white, and so forth – that what they’ve experienced is not real.

  12. While I’m loathe to give this asshat any more attention than his idiocy has already garnered, I think the point from which I take the most comfort is that he is simply on the wrong side of history. Women in tech like us, and our daughters after us, will make sure of that.

    If he takes you up on the CES offer, I will see you there. It’s been too long since I had Nobu.

  13. The problem with this topic and the attendant dilemma, and so many others like it, is the tendency of all of us (including Milos, whose screed is a prime example of Confirmation Bias) to engage in a host of Cognitive Biases and Narrative Fallacies when we attempt to analyze and discuss these issues. Many of the comments above fall into that category, regardless of their well-intended merits. We all do it. I do it. The key is to try to recognize them and not to frame a narrative around what you think you already know.
    http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Confirmation_bias.html
    http://io9.com/5974468/the-most-common-cognitive-biases-that-prevent-you-from-being-rational
    http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Narrative_fallacy

    1. Links a plenty!
      http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/2013/10/21/the-need-for-belonging-in-math-and-science/
      (from Magpie, above.) Great read. And adds an additional theory that Summers hasn’t posited–Which I guess is my point.

      I think the problem with this topic in my mind is not cognitive bias, but that at the most simplistic level, women experience things that are very real, and some men continue to refute their experiences as fabricated, imagined or inaccurate. Or, in this case, deserved.

      We can debate theories as to why women are not in tech in the numbers they should be–but I hope we can agree the answer isn’t that they are hysterical or whiney. Or get PMS. Which, come to think of it, is one theory I’m surprised Milo didn’t hit on.

    2. Andrew, the data do not support what Summers said. They do not support what this Milo dude is saying. They do not support what has been said by the other gazillion men who think that they have just now had this idea no one else has ever had that maybe women are genetically inferior or just aren’t interested in science, either. Seriously, I’ve seen at least three such articles this year alone.

      As a woman in science, I hate that I have to have a go to link to explain the fact that I am not biologically inferior at my chosen field, but because of people like you, I do. Here is my current favorite, because it is funny as well as accurate:
      http://www.slideshare.net/terriko/how-does-biology-explain-the-low-numbers-of-women-in-cs-hint-it-doesnt

      You might also find the book Pink Brain, Blue Brain by Dr. Lise Eliot informative, if you chose to learn more about the data on gender differences in cognitive development and what theories are consistent with the available data.

      And you might stop and think about what it does to the confidence of girls and young women when people who have not bothered to read and understand the data expound on their supposed inferiority and lack of interest in STEM. You might also stop and think about what it does to those of us trying to make careers in these fields, and ponder what it says about our skills and determination that we persist and even succeed in the face of the crap men like Summers, and this Milo dude, and yes, you, insist on throwing at us, nevermind the overt harassment many of us have faced.

      TL/DR version: you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  14. I wonder what Milo would make of the fact that there wasn’t a semester that I taught programming at the college level that some variant of the phrase “Oh man, we’re supposed to learn how to code from a chick?! Lame.” didn’t come out of a male student’s mouth on the first day loud enough for everyone to hear? The female students, in contrast, would tell me in quiet voices in my office weeks later how inspiring and relieving it was.
    Either way, at the end of the semester, they all came out realizing that my gender had nothing to do with my coding skills.

    That said? I love this post best of any you’ve ever written Liz.

  15. I am finding this conversation fascinating. I am a life sciences Ph.D. apparently there is supposed to be less gender discrimination in the life sciences. I just checked my email and got an invitation from the women in my institute to meet for lunch and talk about “Women in Science fields: challenges and rewards”.

    Also I read this recently-

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/magazine/why-are-there-still-so-few-women-in-science.html?hp&_r=1&

    depressing.

    1. Wow Liz.

      Last summer, researchers at Yale published a study proving that physicists, chemists and biologists are likely to view a young male scientist more favorably than a woman with the same qualifications. Presented with identical summaries of the accomplishments of two imaginary applicants, professors at six major research institutions were significantly more willing to offer the man a job. If they did hire the woman, they set her salary, on average, nearly $4,000 lower than the man’s. Surprisingly, female scientists were as biased as their male counterparts.

      Hang in there. I’d love to hear about that lunch.

  16. Oh, Liz beat me to it! I was just about to link to the same article. My brothers are both scientists, and we had an interesting discussion about this piece. The parts that jumped out at me were that in this country men have a harder time seeing women as women and something serious at the same time. (It reminded me of an awful quote from an orchestra conductor saying that he couldn’t have women in his ensemble because if they were unattractive the men wouldn’t want to sit by them, and if they were attractive the men wouldn’t be able to. So, yeah, sexism everywhere.). Also that women are willing to sacrifice just as much as men, but not more. (Some of this pressure women put on themselves feeling they need to perform all the functions of a stay-at-home parent while still working full-time, but there is societal pressure as well. For instance, when a house is messy nobody blames the man who lives in it, they judge the woman, and it’s hard not to feel the weight of that.)

    This is also interesting to read in the current climate of articles all about the “crisis of educating boys” that is all the rage. This seems to be one area where men still outnumber women in college. If the balance shifts I wonder if people will be lamenting that we are failing boys there too, rather than seeing it as an improvement.

    In any case, glad Thalia signed up for Science Club. (And the corn starch is messy but FUN. Go on YouTube and find video of people running across it, but sinking if they stop moving. Not that she’ll get to try that, but still.)

    1. Gahhhh that quote! Once again, women at fault for distracting the weak men. Let’s just all wear burqas and call it a day.

      I’m so glad you know about the quicksand experiment. Will let you know how it goes! (And I did have to reassure Sage that there wouldn’t be enough for her to actually get stuck in it, like in Princess Bride.)

  17. My daughter is kicking ass in math right now. Like, out performing her ‘scientist inventor’ brother who is two years older.

    I feel like I am failing her every time he talks about wanting to be a scientist and she talks about wanting to be a vet. I feel like I should be pushing her to code, to invent, to really go and do all the things everyone pushes her BROTHER to do.

    I want my daughter decide to be a vet because she really wants to be one, not because everyone thinks it’s so cute she loves animals- all while she has the ability to do crazy math in her head in a way I can’t and her brother can’t.

    I also want her to pitch VCs her app ideas (which are brilliant) and go to CES as an 8-year old GIRL simply to PISS OFF Milo and lead the way for other girls – while ignoring the hot pants and the booth babes and to show them all.

    Now to see if that’s what she wants…or what she’s been programed to want.

    I love you Liz. One of your best posts ever.

  18. I have a 6yo girl who says she wants to be a scientist and I only hope she finds it easier to be one than I did so many years ago where balls of steel and very thick skin were not optional to make it through programs where I was 1 of 3 women at most. I will encourage her to the fullest but I wonder how far I should go in preparing her for the will and character she’ll need to make it through the battle.

    In the tech field I find far too many people toss around the term ‘meritocracy’ without really understanding what that means and assume that the mere presence of women at all is an affirmation that it exists without really looking at the demographic spread of people in technology. So many people live in bubbles that, like Milo, I pity them for their utter lack of observational skills in their surroundings. I read an article recently about how a journalist conducted an experiment in his small country to see if the extreme xenophobic behaviors so often lamented in the expat community were true and….he got far more than he expected in the ‘holy shit my country is a bunch of xenophobic douchebags’ vein. It’d be fun to do a similar story in tech using women and people of any variety other than white male to illustrate the point. Of course, it wouldn’t move mountains, but it might open a few eyes at least.

  19. I asked two young girls in our extended family to draw a picture of a doctor. These girls have an aunt who is a doctor and aother aunt who has a PhD in chemistry. Their father thought it was a stupid experiment. I knew better: each girl drew a male! Surgeons have only recently “allowed” females to join their ranks, and don’t get me started on what MDs have done to midwives. Remember that secretaries, teachers, nurses were originally men who stubbornly allowed women into their ranks. And every generation used the same arguments your boy has used to justify his discrimination. At least he didn’t tell us that women’s smaller heads meant we have less intelligence. Substitute African-American for women…same old, same old. It’s blogs like yours and the daughters who come after you that will bear witness to the inequities that exist in every patriarchy. Go, daughter. So proud of this post.

    1. There’s that old brain teaser:

      “A man is rushed to the hospital. The surgeon exclaims, I can’t operate on him–he’s my son! But the surgeon wasn’t his father. What’s going on?”

      Amazing even today how many kids don’t think to say mother. “Discrimination” for lack of a better word is pervasive.

    2. In 4th grade my daughters class was asked to draw a picture of a scientist: she was the only one who drew a female. I am taking that as a win!

      I am trying to be more visible to my kids’ peers. I judge the science fair, tell them I am my daughter’s Mom (we have different last names) and that I’m a working scientist. I talked to the chair of the HS science department (female) about their mentoring program but I haven’t heard whether anyone is interested.

    3. My Mom was a 1st grade teacher for many years. One year, while I was in grad school, I came home for a visit during the school year, and we decided I’d come do a simple physics experiment with her class. Before I came, she said a scientist would be visiting and asked the kids to draw a picture of a scientist. They all drew a man in a white coat. Most of them added the wild Einstein hair. They were so surprised when I came in!

  20. Let me see if I can get through this without a HULK SMASH moment…
    As someone who adores science and understands intricate scientific application and misses the days of studying physics for fun, I’m tired of this same old/same old attitude. I’ve had this problem since day one of our daughter’s life when the doctors try to dumb down the medical speak. At one point I had to tell the doctor that I didn’t understand what he was trying to tell me and go ahead and use the big words. He did, and I understood it! Because he sucked at communicating in non-medical terms! Which just goes to show all men are terrible at communicating, so they should probably just stop talking!

  21. It’s an exhausting battle that I personally experienced as I went to school for computer programming and worked in the industry as a software developer for 6 years.

    I excelled in math and science at school and was faster debugging C++ code than most of my male peers, but I still never felt like I was done proving myself.

    I have to admit that I am relieved to be out of that world now. It really gets tiring to be treated like you don’t belong because you’re not a geeky guy.

  22. That is why I signed my daughter up for this…without even asking her. :) http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/fll

    This year, the Girl Scouts are partnering with FLL to have a Girls-Only Lego Robotics tournament. We just started…but I can tell you, it’s nothing short of awesome! She actually joined Girl Scouts to do it (and was disappointed we didn’t get free cookies out of the deal- HA!). We were invited by someone starting a team, and I jumped at the chance. I think it’s going to be a great learning experience.

    Instead of traditional after-school activities, we’ve just decided to be on teams this year. :) She is also on a Destination Imagination team – for the third year. Although it is not specifically math/science, there is a component of each challenge that has to do with math/science. http://www.destinationimagination.org/

    Both FLL and DI are kid-driven…meaning parents are only transportation devices and resources for information…but parents cannot help, suggest or do any part of the projects. So the kids really have to work together to figure things out. This year our DI team must come up with a contraption to help them escape a natural disaster…and in FLL they identify a problem with a natural disaster and create an innovative solution to help people prepare, stay safe or rebuild. It’s crazy that both are extreme weather related…but it helps…because she can take things from one team to the other.

    When I went to the interweb to find the links to the two groups, I found this on the girl scout website…more STEM research for your light reading pleasure! :) Have a great weekend! http://www.girlscouts.org/research/pdf/generation_stem_full_report.pdf

  23. Liz, this was amazing, as I expect from you. :) And even if Milo refuses to join you at CES, it would be interesting to run the experiment with a hidden cam and a white guy in good drag, then out of it, visiting the same vendors and asking the same questions.

    And Elisa, one of the things I *always* tell people about BlogHer, and how great it is, is the seriousness of the corporate commitment to including and showcasing diverse voices at every conference. If even 20% of tech conference organizers and HR leaders had your commitment, the tech world would look very, very different.

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