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View Diary: The universal laws of ladies in science (81 comments)

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  •  Man (8+ / 0-)

    When I got my Computer Science degree back in the early 80's, there were about 1/3 girls in my classes.

    I don't know what happened.

    Romney economics: Feed our seed corn to the fattest pigs and trust them to poop out jobs.

    by blue aardvark on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:05:12 AM PDT

    •  Fatbeards? There were a LOT of em in my classes. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Not trying to say that women go to college for the dating pool, but the ODOR in that classroom... well it was one of the major reasons I switched back to english.

      Plus, I really loathed getting paired up with guys in every class who were just gonna "Pull an All Nighter, it's what the Pro's do"  on the project That's Due tomorrow.  I have kids, and I can't DO that.

      I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

      by detroitmechworks on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:16:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  well, also (5+ / 0-)

      Computer Science is no longer as well paid as it used to be before the tech bust.  It's long hours for mediocre pay unless you're at the top of the management chain, and often employees are seen as interchangable.

      If I was steering a child going in to college looking for a degree right now I probably would hesitate to recommend Computer Science, unless she truly loved coding.

      •  Software developers get no respect (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue aardvark, greengemini

        At first it was because they were viewed as a necessary evil to make the things developed by "real engineers" work.  The maxim was about hardware flaws was "don't worry, we'll have them fix it in software".

        The rise of Microsoft seemed to open a new era for software developers, but the Gates wasn't a long-term professional developer and the company was later turned over to his business major crony.  MS has been leading the charge in the use of temp workers, H-1B visas and offshoring.  Over that same period they ceased to be the "cool" place for top talent: coincidence?

        Lots of other companies have followed their lead.  Marginal developers go into management and propagate the commodity view of developers; after all, these newbie managers truly were dime-a-dozen developers —I want to know who the hell keeps providing all the dimes—and were too unobservant to realize it.  Another pox to lay at the doors of these promoted mediocrities is their incompetent scheduling which leads to the famous software death march/spiral.

        It does seem like a dubious future, but it appears that we're heading towards a world where no one except the bankster/robber-baron types and a few of their select retainers can get any respect or a decent standard of living.

        My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.—Carl Schurz
        Give 'em hell, Barry—Me

        by KingBolete on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 07:50:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Gates was as professional as anybody at the time (4+ / 0-)

          Yes he can code, and quite well too.   Famouse quote is that Microsoft was going to be the best damn C compiler company in the world.   However, his true genius was business of course.

           Hard to believe, but there was a time when "computer science" was an esoteric field related to mathmetics and it had little to do with getting a high paying job.   (That is how I got into it.)   There was also the field of electrical engineering where (from my impression on the other side of the fence) was that you were an engineer who knew how to code.

          Then there were the guys who labored over JCL, Fortran, and COBOL.   Not the thing at all, really.    A scientist would know how to code fortran but many were quite proud of what lousy coders they were.    Being a coder was like how dentists used to be considered.

          It took a lot of work for people it to get recognized as a design field, like engineering or archichecture, but alas it looks like that didn't stick.    We are back to being code monkies.

          •  We're letting them do this to us (0+ / 0-)

            It's part of the broader devaluation of work and workers that the upper classes in this country have engaged in for, what, thirty years?

            Please feel free to HR me for my informative and argumentative nature. 'To know what is right and to do it are two different things.' - Chushingura, a tale of The Forty-Seven Ronin

            by rbird on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 02:07:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  my daughters (6+ / 0-)

        I'm just a dad trying to steer my girls into STEM career path.  I find the cartoony math websites, iPad flashcards, and even KahnAcademy have helped make the learning more fun.  They're not easy subjects.

        But knowing there's a cultural bias against them to start really peaves me....

        bonzo goes to bitburg should be required listening...

        by decitect on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 08:23:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Part of the problem (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jen Sorensen, JeffW, rbird

          (I swear I'll talk about this in my diary today)

 that they don't see any role models and the ones they encounter are inaccessible.  What we women scientists need to do is go out into the public and MEET people -- show the what science is about and when a girl has a question, sit down with her and give her some advice.

          Girls have lots of role models for teachers and homemakers and store clerks and hairdressers and nail salon techs and vet techs and reporters and singers... (the list goes on)  But there's very few models of women as "the warm hearted professional" or the "warm hearted scientist doing science" or the "cheerfully fun mathematician" (if you watched "Numb3rs", Amina was probably the ONLY role I've seen for a perky personality-plus female mathematician.)

          If you want to tread a path but there are no road signs, you get lost a lot and you can easily miss your way.

          •  Get out there and show 'em (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jen Sorensen, rbird

            TOTALLY agree with your comment to gain exposure for female scientists.  I can't tell you the number of times my female students told me they were skeptical that I was a "real" scientist because I am approachable, told interesting stories and cared about professional appearance.  Maybe I wasn't smart or something.  Maybe it is easier to get doctorates than they thought!

            Working across both academe and corporations, I can tell you that it is kind of a "no-win" situation in the work world for female scientists.  If you are too nice, then people are shocked by your competence (when they are finally exposed to it) OR if you are too excellent and achieving then you threaten others.  It is very frustrating and I am looking for the exit door.

            When I take "early retirement" I plan to get out into classrooms and other places to show kids what female scientists do.  We must show alternative versions of our profession than the typical, nerdy stereotypes.  We must expand the number of creative, contributions from BOTH female and minority scientists.  I am both and it has not been a cake walk.

            •  It's a wonderful life! (0+ / 0-)

              You'd be surprised at the amount of social power you can wield as a retiree when you volunteer for organizations like museums and zoos and Audubon, too.  I ended up being part of an Important Birding Area project that saved a farm from being turned into a limestone pit -- and helping prep out the largest dinosaur in Texas.

              It's rewarding.  You get some appreciation for who you are and what you can bring to the table, and after a few years (it takes time to build trust and find the right place) you find that people listen to you and act on your recommendations and that you really CAN be far more effective than you were as a cog in the machine.

              I'm looking forward to the day when you join me as part of the "women who are the public face of science to the community."

              •  Encouraging future (0+ / 0-)

                Wow!  What you said is inspiring.  I am about 2.5 years away from becoming independent of these large "systems" that take away power from people like me.  Thanks for this point of view.  Can hardly wait!

      •  Don't believe the hype (0+ / 0-)

        Talented software engineers are in higher demand than they were during the tech bust.  People without strong skills less so.

        This may change over time as China and India continue to produce large numbers of skilled software engineers.  But my opinion is that it's still a good field.

    •  I took stat in undergrad sociology thinking I'd (5+ / 0-)

      barely get through it. Loved it from moment one until this day (spent my career doing research and numbers). And that first stat class, in 1970, was taught by a guy who was very forward thinking. He had us learn basic fortran and that really hooked me. (I took another class in fortran just for fun, in which my piece de resistance was instructing the computer to draw a picture). That professor valued my talents and drive and I never felt that the fact that I was female made the slightest difference to him. He really started me in my career.
      I didn't end up in programming but used statistical computer programs (3 different ones) all through my career, and became sort of a local expert on SPSS which I taught myself when it was fairly new program -- and that was possible because it was based on fortran so the logic made perfect sense to me.
      I've been married more than 35 years and my husband is intuitive, very verbally oriented, while I'm logical and the family techie. If it weren't for my first stat professor and the women's movement, I might have ended up in a career I hated because I wouldn't have even thought to learn the things I ended up loving.

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Wed Oct 03, 2012 at 09:43:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re: Man (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark

      You said:

      When I got my Computer Science degree back in the early 80's, there were about 1/3 girls in my classes.
      The individuals that were 1/3 girls; what were the other 2/3?


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