Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2016 08:50 pm
Wanting others' opinions...my buddy was telling me that for women to succeed in science majors they should act more like guys. Later found out there's even research about women acting 'like one of the lads' to be happy.

Thoughts?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 2,774 • Replies: 34
No top replies

 
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Wed 30 Mar, 2016 09:25 pm
@cocodarling10,
This is a topic I have been thinking a lot about recently. I am raising a very smart preteen daughter who enjoys programming in Java. And, I work as a software engineer. This is a very male dominated field where we are having active discussions about how to be more welcoming to women.

My daughter was recruited into a group called "Science Club for Girls". As a father and as an engineer I hate it. First of all, she isn't being challenged to learn real science (i.e. developing the skills that are needed to succeed). They are doing science crafts focused around biology. Biology is the one scientific field where there are more women than men. Shunting off all the women scientists is a problem because it is the least mathematical and technical field... this just strengthens the traditional gender stereotypes.

For the record, my daughter likes the club because her friends are there... and I support her choice. I do have an ongoing discussion with her about what it means to be an engineer. It is not easy being my daughter. But at home she tinkers with and solders electronic circuits and is writing a web application in Java... for more important from a science and engineering perspective.

So now to answer the question.... And I have some expertise in this; currently I am an engineer and I have a hard science degree (in Physics).

There are a few traditionally "male" skills that are absolutely needed to excel in science or engineering.

1) The ability to argue. Science is about arguing facts. You present your hypothesis and then other people attack it. That is the way science works. You also need to look at other hypotheses and attack them. And this argument has to be based on facts... without taking it personally or worrying about feelings. This is how great scientists arrive at the successful theories or great engineers arrive at the correct designs.

2) An obsession with mathematics or design. Successful engineers or scientists fixate on an idea to the exclusion of pretty much anything else. All of my peers have slept in an office, or have "forgotten" social engagements or have even neglected personal hygiene. For the best engineers, mathematics is not a subject in school or a career skill, it is an obsession... it gives us pleasure.

3) A love of tinkering. I was reading research about the different ways that boys and girls use computers. Boys are much more likely to see computers as a toy... and engineers more so. We don't see technology as a tool, we see it as something to take apart... to master, sometimes to destroy (it is a common experience for engineers to have taken apart appliances in our childhood).

I could probably come up with more with more thought.... but these things are the reason that really good engineers are really good. Of course there are girls who already have these traits, but it is not possible to truly be a great engineer or scientist without them.

I read some blogs about what we need to do to make engineering more appealing to women. The suggestions make me laugh (or choke or laugh while choking). They include focusing on "cleanliness" and getting rid of crazy schedules or long arguments. These are the very things that make engineering successful... you really can't do this.

There are some things that we can and should do to make engineering and science more welcoming. Abuse and crass joking are problems and aren't at all necessary for the crazy creative process.

But yes, the women who really succeed in science and technology can strongly argue their points based on facts, have a mastery and love of math, and an obsession that drives them beyond what is normal. In this way they aren't any different then the men.

I don't see that as acting "like one of the lads". I see this as acting like an engineer (or scientist). This is deeply productive, creative and satisfying... but it isn't for everyone. I hope that more women will decide to do this.
cocodarling10
 
  1  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2016 11:58 am
@maxdancona,
Thanks for the response! It's awesome to hear how involved your daughter is despite what society may think about her choices.

I'd like to believe that what you listed are the only things that women need to do to be successful in the engineering and science industry. I'm also an engineer (chemical) and started working last summer. While there I noticed it was a lot easier to talk to the male coworkers if you knew how to talk about sports and less about more feminine things like shopping.

Yes, we focused on our work, too. But at times when we took breaks, in order to get along with them, it felt like if I didn't have a more masculine personality then I didn't fit in. That's when I did my research, and found an article by someone named Faulkner who studied something similar. It was titled Can Women Engineers be ‘Real Engineers’ and ‘Real Women’? in case anyone wants to check out what I found.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Thu 31 Mar, 2016 04:51 pm
@cocodarling10,
In my experience the people in software engineering are geeks. Masculine is not a word that is generally used to describe us (and no one has ever described me as masculine... even when they were stuffing me into a locker).

It may surprise you, but we don't talk about sports very much. If you can talk about phasers, worm holes, and know that Greedo did not shoot first (and why it is important), then you will fit right in here. I am not sure if this counts as "masculine" by any traditional sense of the word.

The book you suggest is behind a paywall... I can't read it (although it seems interesting). I am interested to hear your personal experience.

Do intelligent women really spend their time talking about shopping? This seems like an awful cliche.




cocodarling10
 
  0  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 01:51 pm
@maxdancona,
Personally I haven't had much industry experience yet, though the little experience I had last summer showed a divide between the two sexes. After I was there for a while I figured out this was probably as much the women's fault as it was the guys' but neither side really seemed interested in being too friendly to the other. There were even times where the guys would complain about one of the women trying to 'fit in' with them and 'imposing herself into their conversations'.

I also personally don't spend too much time talking about shopping because I grew up hating it but I've worked with other women who would talk about that, as well as family drama. Like "oh my kid did this" or "my husband did that" or "you won't believe what's wrong with the house now" kind of stuff. Meanwhile the guys were talking about golf and basketball and going on vacation.
Kolyo
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 02:27 pm
@cocodarling10,
cocodarling10 wrote:

There were even times where the guys would complain about one of the women trying to 'fit in' with them and 'imposing herself into their conversations'.


Really sorry to hear that. Sounds like you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Stick with the job, though. Someone told me chemical engineers made more than anyone, and I'll bet you like the work.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 04:22 pm
@cocodarling10,
You should try software engineering then. What you describe hasn't been my experience in several decades of work. Although I am a man and can't speak from the perspective of women in the field, the divide you are talking about doesn't happen where I work. We eat lunch together and we all get along.

All of us are nerds, and we all talk about nerd stuff. I have no interest in talking about golf or basketball. The women where I work happen to be big fans of the Walking Dead (and apparently zombies in general) and we talk about that. I talk about my kids (although none of the women where I work have kids) and I do talk about what my ex-spouse is up to (which is something several of us have in common).

So no, this divide you are talking about is something that I haven't seen.

That being said, I do see some difficulty for women in the industry in general. Nerd humor can be sexual, which I understand is uncomfortable especially when women are in the minority. At conventions there are still "booth babes" which are attractive women in revealing clothes selling their products (i.e. software packages)... a tactic clearly aimed at men.

I support criticism of these practices.

And... this has happened to me several times. I will be at a technical conference (with mostly men) and an attractive woman will sit next to me and start asking simple questions. This woman will invariably be a recruiter... trying to get my resume for a client who is looking to steal employees. This practice bothers me, it is playing the male stereotype that we can be lured by the attention of a desirable female when in truth (heck... who am I kidding...)




0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 04:43 pm
@cocodarling10,
Quote:
Meanwhile the guys were talking about golf and basketball

Maybe it has nothing to do with gender. I'm a (male) engineer (EE) and could never fit myself into the sports conversations (zero interest). Decided to 'screw fitting in, just be good at what I do'. It did slow my advancement in my career but I was in it for the fun, not fortune, anyway.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 04:55 pm
Far as I see him, I take Maxcondona as very zeroed in on his take of what science is, and is extremely insistent about it, gnawing at others who may not blanket agree.

He belittles biology. What an ass.

That is the women's world of course.

Talk about pomp and circumstance.

I take him as a self adulator.















women'

maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 05:00 pm
@ossobuco,
Why the need for ad hominems, Osso?

Nowhere did I belittle biology, I only pointed out the great majority of women who enter a scientific field go into biology. This is just a fact.

I am just expressing my opinons, I have not attacked anyone here. I would respect and appreciate it if you would express your opinions. I don't understand your need to make personal attacks.
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 05:06 pm
@maxdancona,
Yes you did, you piece of ****, that biology was a place for just women by your view. Review your own posts.

I edited, to be honest, still true.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 05:17 pm
@ossobuco,
We have gotten into juvenile name calling now, Osso. I have apparently upset you.

If you are going to attack me personally, rather than responding to the points I am making... back it up. I have never said anything of the sort. This is a baseless accusation unless you can show me a single link where I said anything of the sort.

You can start with the post that angered you...where I said the exact opposite. There are several fields of science and engineering that have a very small number of women. My point is that it would be beneficial for more women to enter these fields... for example software engineering or theoretical physics. Do you agree with this or not?

I would appreciate if you could give your opinion without more vulgar insults. We already have one Setanta on this board.

ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 05:24 pm
@maxdancona,
I suppose 'what a putz', won't do.

Live with it. I consider you cockeyed re the realm of science, and who gets to participate.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 05:32 pm
@ossobuco,
Osso, I am sincerely curious about why you are so angry at what I said. The reasons you gave for your anger are.

1) That I belittled biology (which I didn't).
2) That I said that "biology was a place for just women" (which I didn't say).

What I said was that science and engineering fields, with the exception of biology, have a very small number of women. This is not something to argue about... it is just a fact.

My opinion is that there should be more women in fields like software engineering and theoretical physics. (I don't imagine you disagree with this).

My daughter loves engineering. And... absolutely believe that she should be supported in this and have every opportunity to pursue this and succeed (I assume you support this).

And.. I believe that segregated science programs, such as "Girls who Code" and "Science Club for Girls" are counterproductive because they send the message that girls can't succeed when boys are around... and the false message that girls and boys do science and engineering differently.

I think this last point is the only point you disagree with me about. Am I wrong?

I have nothing against biology. Believe me based on the medical treatment I have undergone, biology is a pretty damn important field of science. And, maybe my view that the study biology requires less advanced mathematics than other sciences is controversial... but a college catalog will show whether I am correct or not.

But I don't see what I have said to inspire you calling me an "ass" and a "piece of ****". I have made my points and backed them up. That's all there is.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 05:34 pm
@ossobuco,
Geez Osso.

You are attacking me for suggesting that there should be more women represented in fields like software engineering and theoretical physics.

If that makes me a putz... then I guess I am a putz.

I do like it much better when we can discuss facts and opinions without name-calling.


0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 05:40 pm
@maxdancona,
review your own takes.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 05:45 pm
@ossobuco,
I keep asking (and quite calmly)...

You are making an unsupported accusation (along with vulgar name calling). I know everything I have written and I claim there isn't a single post that I have made to back up your accusation. Of course, you are putting me in the impossible position of proving a negative.

But the burden of proof is on you. If you are going to make accusations, back them up... all you have to do is provide a single link, one single link, that shows where I say that women shouldn't be more represented in scientific or technical fields. The links in this post show me saying the exact opposite.

This really isn't your best Osso, making baseless accusations with vulgar name calling. So please, have the decency to back it up.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 05:51 pm
@maxdancona,
No, people can just read.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 06:00 pm
@ossobuco,
Yes they can read, Osso.

Something in what I wrote really angered you. I don't understand what it was... because (as anyone can read) what I said is the opposite of what you are accusing me of saying. I was saying that software engineering and science should be more open and welcoming to women.

I sincerely wish you could explain rationally what specifically it is about what I wrote that angers you so much. And, there is a quote feature... if you could kindly show me specifically what I said that you think is so bad. rather than making vague, baseless accusations, it would be very helpful in having a rational discussion about it.

Vague accusations and name-calling isn't helpful.


neologist
 
  2  
Reply Sun 3 Apr, 2016 06:33 pm
Turn it around. What if a man wishes to excel in a traditional woman's endeavor? Google the name Rosey Grier. You may be surprised, as I was, that this giant of a man, a pro football hall of famer, wrote a book entitled Cross Stitching for Men. Do you suppose he could have learned the craft without talking with women, learning the language, sharing, at least in part, with their insider conversation? I envision not a few awkward moments.

Of course, there seems to be little public desire for more men to become cross stitchers or knitters. But doesn't it seem likely that the mechanisms are the same?


 

Related Topics

New Propulsion, the "EM Drive" - Question by TomTomBinks
The Science Thread - Discussion by Wilso
Why do people deny evolution? - Question by JimmyJ
Are we alone in the universe? - Discussion by Jpsy
Fake Science Journals - Discussion by rosborne979
Controvertial "Proof" of Multiverse! - Discussion by littlek
 
  1. Forums
  2. » "Real Women"
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 05/18/2021 at 09:41:36