Women in Science and Engineering Net

S.A. Modena maildrop maildrop at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu
Tue Sep 1 03:21:31 EST 1992


>Received: from ncsuvm.cc.ncsu.edu by ncsuvm.cc.ncsu.edu (IBM VM SMTP V2R1)
>   with BSMTP id 6913; Mon, 31 Aug 92 09:42:47 EDT
>Received: from NCSUVM.BITNET by ncsuvm.cc.ncsu.edu (Mailer R2.08) with BSMTP id
> 6587; Mon, 31 Aug 92 09:32:15 EDT
>Date:         Mon, 31 Aug 1992 09:44:58 -0500
Reply-To: Women In Science and Engineering NETwork <WISENET%UICVM.BITNET at ncsuvm.cc.ncsu.edu>
>Sender: Women In Science and Engineering NETwork <WISENET%UICVM.BITNET at ncsuvm.cc.ncsu.edu>
>From: mmurrain%HAMP.HAMPSHIRE.EDU at ncsuvm.cc.ncsu.edu
>Subject:      The purpose of WISENET
>To: Multiple recipients of list WISENET <WISENET at UICVM.BITNET>
>Status: RO
>
To members of WISENET:
        Two of us have been discussing issues related to the purpose of the
net, and how specific issues that we have discussed on the net relate to
our lives as women in science and engineering. We have come up with some
points of discussion.

HOW IS IT IMPORTANT TO TALK ABOUT HOW VARIOUS ISSUES INTERTWINE WITH OUR
DAILY
LIVES AS WOMEN SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS?

By talking about various issues that affect our daily lives, we can
benefit from feedback from others who've had similar experiences as well as

different experiences.  We can locate others who've had REMARKABLY similar
experiences, and this often leads to lasting, supportive communication on a

private basis.  We can explore ways of preventing negative effects and/or
producing positive effects.  We can discover parallels with other issues
and
experiences, not necessarily having to do with precisely the same material.

Often, it is the simple act of talking itself which might produce relief
and
a diminishment of self-doubt. The act of discussion about issues can be
some of the most important work that we do around issues - it starts
momentum going, and gets people to think.

While we certainly can't assume an entirely homogenous audience, it is
understood that we are in sympathy with one another if for no other reason
that we are in a single position: women in science ... it is by virtue of
that very commonality that we are able to provide support independent of
full agreement on every issue or interpretation.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE NET IN HAVING US BE INVOLVED IN THAT CONVERSATION?

At its best, we believe the net ultimately creates a tangible support
system
... references to material, job leads, recommendations, advice, strategies,

etc.  But these things often occur only after their need has been
identified
by a prerequisite discussion of issues that affect our lives.  Also, the
answers are often designed with those very issues in mind.  For this
reason, we
think it would quite bad for it to become taboo to discuss viewpoints
relating
to particular issues.  If someone feels a particular issue (drugs, sex, or
rock and roll) has changed her day, she should be entitled and welcomed to
say
so.  It needn't have changed MY day in order for it to be true for HER.

Tori gives an experience that is a good example: "When the Gulf War was
going on, it affected MY daily life in a BIG way.  I'm on an Air Force
Base.  Over the
first few days, gung-ho boyz in blue cheered as though we were playing a
football game, not fighting a war.  I have a dear friend who is a Kurd, and

whose entire family was still in Kurdistan.  I honored my friend by placing

his photograph over my desk so I would not forget his fear.  You can bet I
took not a few jabs for this decision, from those who didn't care to hear
the
story ... to them, an Arab is an Arab is an Arab.  Well, it DID affect my
worklife.  I felt a responsibility NOT to betray my friend by hiding my
feelings, whilst my male scientific colleagues who were slightly less
gung-ho
kept their mouths shut.  One day, I was a woman among men.  Next thing I
knew
I was a pacifist friend to Saddam Hussein.  To this day, I can't fully
trace
the changes in personal relationships that occurred during that time, but I

suspect there were several.  If I'd been on wisenet at the time, I might
have
wanted to talk about it.  And the experience might have seemed quite
foreign
to those who work at universities.  And it might also have provoked wrath
from
those who were gung-ho for the troops, etc.  (Certainly, I wanted everyone
to
come back alive, and I wasn't fully opposed to the war,
but my mixed feelings and sentiments for my friend made it a very mixed bag

for me.)  And I think I'd have felt very bad if that had happened, because
the
issue wasn't whether or not the war was 'right' or 'wrong' or whether it
had
any effect on most women's lives in science; it had an effect on MY life in

science, here where *I* am.  And being a woman made it that much worse,
because it was the easiest point of focus for those who wished to disregard

the legitimacy of my feelings.  Wars still belong to the menfolk."

This is an example of how other issues impinge on our lives as women in
science. But there is more. We must begin to talk about the WHYS of the
relationship that women have with science, and how that is connected with
the WHYS of our relationship with our society. It seems to us that there is
a pretty clear mirror in those relationships. And we want to suggest that
WISENET could be a place to explore those issues.

So.. we would like to begin these discussions. Any takers??

Tori : vnasman at falcon.aamrl.wpafb.af.mil
Michelle : mmurrain at hamp.hampshire.edu



More information about the Bioforum mailing list