Girls & Science

Michelle McNair mymcnair at UCDAVIS.EDU
Tue Feb 21 11:00:29 EST 1995


On Mon, 20 Feb 1995, dolphin wrote:

(some lines cut)

> PERSON is good at math/science and is interested in that field they should
> persue it. What ha
> s gender got to do with it? I just don't understand what the problem is? Last
> year my daughter was i
> n second place at the NSTA/Toshiba Exploravision Science awards and it made no
> difference to the Japanese if you were male or female. Entirely too much
> emphasis on sex!Jane Thompson
> 
I have to counter this a little bit.  I was born in 1964, so I went 
through grade school in the '70s.  Even though I had an incredibly 
supportive family, teachers who took an interest, and was praised highly 
for my academic work, I STILL freaked out in junior high because most of 
the other girls said how hard math & science were.  The stereotypes don't 
seem to be as strong these days, (thank heavens they got rid of that 
damned Barbie that said "math is so hard") but until everyone started 
telling me I couldn't do it, I didn't have a problem.  Then when I found 
out that boys weren't supposed to like smart girls (with glasses, no 
less), and that girls couldn't do math, it honestly got to me.  

It took me about ten years past high school (and a divorce) to realize 
that I really COULD do math & science, and that it still came pretty 
readily for me.  I'm now getting my Ph.D. in Genetics, but I'm 30 and 
could have done so much more had I started earlier. 

We HAVE to give our little women strong role models, support & 
encouragment.  They have to actually SEE other women who are doing 
science, so that if someone tells them they can't they know it is just not 
true.  
Although I had encouragment growing up, my grandmother was not 
educated (albeit incredibly intelligent) and my mom was educated but a 
doormat to my dad.  I needed to see or know someone who was not just 
capable, but actually DOING science.

I think things are better now, but only because people are still fighting 
for this for their daughters.  By the way, I think boys need encouragment 
too, especially those who may not have ample resources.  They need to 
know that there are scholarships out there .....

Take Care,
Michelle




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