10 7 / 2013
09 7 / 2013
"LYDEN: You commissioned a dozen studies on women in media from the Annenberg School at USC. Some of the figures just really boggled the imagination when you think that women are half of all moviegoers. If we didn’t go to the movies, maybe this would make more sense. But we turn out in droves.
DAVIS: I know. It really does boggle the mind. In family films and kids television shows, for every one female character, there are three male characters. But lest people think that it’s all bad news, we were able to see an increase in the percentage of female characters in family films, such that if we add female characters at the rate we have been for the past 20 years, we will achieve parity in 700 years.
DAVIS: And my institute, we have dedicated ourselves to cutting that in half. And we will not rest until it’s only 350 years.
LYDEN: Why is this the case?
DAVIS: My theory is that since all anybody has seen when they are growing up is this big imbalance that the movies that they’ve watched are about, let’s say, five-to-one as far as female presence is concerned. That’s what starts to look normal. And let’s think about in difference segments of society - 17 percent of cardiac surgeons are women, 17 percent of tenured professors are women. It just goes on and on. And isn’t that strange that that’s also the percentage of women in crowd scenes in movies? What if we’re actually training people to see that ratio as normal so that when you’re an adult, you don’t notice?
LYDEN: I wonder what the impact is of all of this lack of female representation.
DAVIS: We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there’s 17 percent women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.
LYDEN: Oh, my goodness.
DAVIS: So is it possible that 17 percent women has become so comfortable and so normal that that’s just sort of unconsciously expected?
LYDEN: Why else, Geena Davis, do these kinds of disparities matter?
DAVIS: What we’re in effect doing is training children to see that women and girls are less important than men and boys. We’re training them to perceive that women take up only 17 percent of the space in the world. And if you add on top of that that so many female characters are sexualized, even in things that are aimed at little kids, that’s having an enormous impact as well."
17% should not be normal…
This relates directly to the study showing that the amount women speak is grossly misjudged. Specifically where, when the amount of female input in a conversation rose above 20%, men felt like they were being “drowned out.”
Study Here: http://www.pbs.org/speak/speech/prejudice/women/
11 6 / 2013
"In fact, Snowden’s lack of formal credentials made him mainstream, and maybe even the wave of the future. The Brookings Institution reported in a paper titled “The Hidden STEM Economy” that half of the nation’s workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math don’t have or need a bachelor’s degree. They do their work with an associate’s degree or even just on-the-job training. When you add in these less formally trained STEM specialists, you arrive at 26 million STEM workers, making up one-fifth of the U.S. workforce. The most common non-college STEM jobs include trades like auto mechanics, electricians, welders, and logistics supervisors, whose jobs all increasingly require a sophisticated mastery of both software and machinery. On average these workers earn 10% more than workers at a similar level of education who don’t have a mastery of any scientific or technical field."
Speaking as someone who works in tech, who has a bachelor’s degree - but not in computers - you could teach yourself how to succeed in tech before there were MOOCs and Lynda and all these amazing resources. it was difficult, but you could.
I can fully imagine how many people will be able to be amazing with self-taught knowledge nowadays - as long as employers give them that chance. I can also fully imagine how this could scare some educational institutions.
11 6 / 2013
How to kinda prove one’s point / make you die a little inside.
When you start typing ‘girls in STEM’ as a tag, and tumblr suggests ‘oh - do you want the popular tag girls in yoga pants?’.
On the “bright side”, it recognized yay misogyny right away
11 6 / 2013
So here’s the true story of how IT made me a bitch. And how I’m (mostly) okay with that.
I am the type of girl that when I try and tell people I used to be shy and they look at my funny.
They can’t picture it. They really don’t look at me - sarcastic, strongly opinionated, the girl who plays tech communication program manager jack of all trades finger in everything as someone who would sit in the corner and be very unlikely to speak up.
I could say it’s because I’m awesome (obviously). But the truth is, I started working in IT in the mid-90s, coming to it from a very strange path, representing what was then a severe minority. I had to. Because it was the only way to get heard. It was the only way to survive.
My first job ever after university, my bosses were amazing. There was no bias against me (in the tech side, or in the science side, which sadly gets this shit too). The tech guy who worked for the organization we worked out with? Made sure to pull me aside and explain to me how I shouldn’t mess with any of his things / touch his code / do anything that I obviously wasn’t suited to do. (you silly girl.)
Since then I have worked with amazing colleagues, male and female. More male than female, especially at the beginning, but most of my close colleagues have treated me equally and with respect. I have been quite lucky there (though it’s kinda sad that I have to count that as lucky). I have then also interviewed people as their prospective boss … and watched them direct answers to my questions to my male colleagues like I’m not even there.
I’ve been told I’m very good at what I do - and I’ve also been patronizingly been told I obviously wouldn’t know anything about what I do because I have boobs. Praise, or spit upon? Depends on the year. There’s sadly not many girls in IT who don’t have at least one story that matches that post, to some level.
So you get a tough skin. So you get loud. So you become in your face, forthright, you get shit done. So you take the label of bitch and embrace it.
You get damn good at playing the game. You get promoted. You get recognized. And you’re a hell of a lot better off for being something other than the shy girl in the corner who can’t speak for herself.
I can attribute this to working in the industry that I do. My independence and stubborn streak long predate that, but if being an underdog teaches you anything, it’s how to suck it up, and how to survive. And eventually, how to win.
And I can’t really regret that part of it. I really can’t. I am stronger than I was. I am - truly - rather awesome.
When I go out and I tell kids that it’s gotten better (as is part of what I do, nowadays), and then I wander on home to my computer, and I get whammed over the head with crap like this, it makes me bitter about being
I am less isolated. I feel less alone. There’s all of us out here making the same noises, and so I feel it’s gotten better. Most days. But things like that are not things that help me feel ‘yay, come join us in the geek girl pool, it’s lovely in here’.
Which is where I realize perhaps I’m only mostly okay with what it made me - because if I really was, I wouldn’t be worried about other people experiencing this. So obviously, not so much.
Being stronger? Great. I definitely think that has value, even if the way I got it wasn’t always pleasant. But given how many years have passed, there’s gotta be a better way - and there’s gotta be progress, shouldn’t there?
Seriously. If Einstein could get this over 100 years ago, then why can’t we catch up yet.