When it comes to women in science and engineering, there is a shortage. Little girls are just as curious about the world around them as little boys, but somewhere between examining snails on the sidewalk and taking AP Calculus, they don’t seem to show up in representative numbers. Educators and researchers continue to try to pinpoint the source.
Many of you may have already seen the video link below that went viral several years ago. In the ad, three girls are bored watching princesses in pink on TV. So they grab a tool kit, goggles and hard hats and set to work building a machine that sends pink teacups and baby dolls flying through the house, using umbrellas, ladders and, of course, GoldieBlox toys. I often tell my engineer husband that more young women would go into engineering if the hard hats were another color than white and that everyone didn’t have to drive a truck and more importantly that their teachers were challenging them with engineering problems that appeal more to their interests.
Preparation for engineering professions is more than the single message many girls hear – take more math and science classes.Women want to be creative and collaborative. They want to design systems that make people healthier and safer and preserve the environment and make the world a better place. What they don’t hear is that scientists and engineers do all of these things. Engineers design everything – absolutely everything – in our built environment. Engineers are much more than a single story. So encourage a girl to be curious today and every day. Boys too.
Less Doll, More Awl
Mom worked full-time while raising four children and she wanted it to be easier for me than it was for her. When I was in high school, she bought me a t-shirt that said, “A Woman’s Place is in the House and the Senate” and I recall both positive and negative remarks from teachers and classmates when I proudly wore it to school. Mom was a proud feminist, subscribed to Ms. magazine, and referred to herself as a member of the “women’s libber movement“.
I remember conversations with my Mom about discriminatory work practices that were so common in her generation and still in mine. I was sexually harassed when I was younger. I was french kissed by one boss while still in high school and in another, whistled at and catcalled every time I walked out on a factory floor. Female co-workers would warn me about certain male bosses not to accept lunch invitations from. When I had a joint banking account with my husband at a local credit union in the 80’s, I wasn’t allowed to conduct certain financial transactions because he was listed as the “primary” on the account.
Mom shared a ridiculous story about when she smoked in her early twenties, which was in the 1950’s, that she had to do so in the basement of her own home because good wives of teachers didn’t smoke in public or were even seen smoking through their own home windows.
Mom was my role model. She showed me how to juggle career and family on a daily basis, how to get organized, how to manage my time, how to carve out small moments for self-care, how to stand up for myself and how to ask for help and get it. She helped many women and children in her career in social services trying to reduce barriers, provide support, and improve the human condition.
I know Mom would be surprised by today’s attacks on human rights and would support a renewed wave of support for all to include policies to:
- pay the same as men do for the same job
- recognize and value doing so much of the hard work required or expected of raising children
- become much better at supporting working women, and mothers
- support choices
- control our own destiny in this world, without regard to our gender, race and physical appearance
Mom died a long time ago when I was in my 30’s. What would Mom say if she was alive today?
I know she would be shocked at current events especially the hate talk, backtracking on human rights and loss of decorum in our government leaders. She would say – you can do and be better.
Reading again, Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins. After reading recently that books saved President Obama’s soul while serving us as President, I reflect on books that I treasure. Woman in White is one you won’t be able to put down.
This book was written in 1859, a long time ago but don’t let that put you off, and is considered by many as the first detective or mystery novel. It was released in serial format at the time. Remember how The Green Mile was released in 1996 by Stephen King? Readers couldn’t wait for each installment to come out and the waiting just built on the suspense of the classic mystery. Woman in White explores the unfair legal rights for married women to own property. Sensational topic in its own right for the times, I am sure.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do reading it (again). Happy reading and to saving souls with good books…
In honor of Throwback Thursday I write this blog post.
I am on a planning committee for a party to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Women’s Policy Forum of Tarrant County. We decided on a throw-back theme to the founding year, 1987. The party is open to the public on March 2nd at the Fort Worth Public Library as we celebrate Women’s History Month. Attendees are encouraged to wear 1980’s attire — you know, the big hair, puffy shoulder pads, and bangles in honor of the Bangles. Here is the link to the schedule of events for the month: Women’s History Month Schedule of Events
On the planning committee, I volunteered to prepare a song playlist for the party so over the holiday break I have been compiling a list. This also happens to be the year that C1 was born. Wow — 30 years ago in 2017. Debbie Gibson made the list (double wow). Love me some Heart and Bruce Hornsby.
Here are the top hits with the Bangles Walk Like an Egyptian as No. #1!
||Walk Like An Egyptian
||Shake You Down
||I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)
||Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now
||C’est La Vie
||Here I Go Again
||Bruce Hornsby and The Range
||The Way It Is
||Livin’ On A Prayer
||Everybody Have Fun Tonight
||Don’t Dream It’s Over
||With Or Without You
||Looking For A New Love
||Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
||Head To Toe
||I Think We’re Alone Now
||Billy Vera and The Beaters
||At This Moment
||Chris De Burgh
||The Lady In Red
||Didn’t We Almost Have It All
||I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
||I Want Your Sex
||Only In My Dreams
||Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
||(I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life
||Peter Cetera and Amy Grant
||The Next Time I Fall
||Lean On Me
||Open Your Heart
||Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
||Lost In Emotion
||(I Just) Died In Your Arms
||Heart And Soul
||You Keep Me Hangin’ On
||Keep Your Hands To Yourself
||Aretha Franklin and George Michael
||I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)
||U Got The Look
||Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
||Somewhere Out There
||Land Of Confusion
||Huey Lewis and The News
||Who’s That Girl
||You Got It All
||Touch Me (I Want Your Body)
||Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett
||I Just Can’t Stop Loving You
||Causing A Commotion
||In Too Deep
||Let’s Wait Awhile
||Huey Lewis and The News
||Hip To Be Square
||Will You Still Love Me?