Affirmative action?

Karine Hertzberg karine.hertzberg at
Fri Mar 24 03:43:24 EST 1995

In article <3ktfo7$pl2 at>, ecoscoll at
(Coscolluela Eileene) wrote:

> 	Teresa... one of the things that I HAVE seen is the lack of
> 	women putting effort into things.  I know ALOT of people with
> 	SO MUCH talent that just wimp out because they don't seem to
> 	want to put in the extra effort to do the work, know what I
> 	mean?
> 	For example, one of my friends is just brilliant.  Brilliant in
> 	everything, it seems, but mathematics and physics.  It's not like
> 	she doesn't understand the material - she just puts no effort
> 	into doing the assignments for the class, puts no effort to do
> 	any studying for the class.  Is this right?  I don't think so and
> 	I think it's the LACK of enthusiasm some women have for certain
> 	fields that prevent them from entering it. 

You can't just dismiss the women who don't get further as not putting in
any effort or not having any enthusiasm. From an early age, girls are
taught quite explicitly that putting yourself forward, asking questions and
being clever is extremely unfeminine and very bad. Hence they become
passive, unsecure and feel extremely uncomfortable with pursuing their own
things. I know this is a caricature presentation, but the main points have
been amply documented. 

 Women should be
> 	encouraged to do what their talents lead them to, at a very early
> 	age. 
> 	It's encouragement, starting from very young, not affirmative
> 	action, that solves problems.  

Exactly! If you recognize what would help them increase their confidence
later on, why don't you recognize why things are the way they are now?
I.e., what you interpret as a lack of effort and enthusiams is very likely
a result of actual discouragement to be different through your school days
before university.

Although women also have to make the extra effort, you have to understand
that it's difficult for many women to pursue a scientific career when all
the ideals of your surroundings tell you otherwise. 

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