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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:20 am

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Good evening. As I said in my intro, science has only been a hobby for me until now but it's been something that interested me for a long time. Maybe it's different in other places but for me, my gender always has led people to be skeptical. I'm only one of 2 girls in my graduating class (that I know of) who expressed an intention to get a science degree. The idea that girls aren't as smart (and are only good at easy things) had bothered me for a long time. Once I build a pinewood car from a block of wood by myself and entered it into a local race. I still remember being asked "Nice car..did your brother make it?" and feeling my heart sink as I answered "No..I did." I thought things would get better past high school but it doesn't seem like it will. Why are there not many women in science? Maybe people were right. Maybe it's not the place for us. :cry:


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:47 am
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Science is a search for understanding. An attempt to probe the universe in a way that avoids self-deception and allows prediction. It's a process to help prevent us from fooling ourselves.

There is nothing gender specific in any of this.
There is no reason to assume two X chromosomes are in any way less capable of achieving those ends than one X and one Y chromosome.

The limitation is cultural, ignorant, and outdated, not gendered, related to sexual plumbing, or valid.

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M_Gabriela
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:12 am
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In my country there are more girls studying science than men... well may be 50-50... so no.... it is not a gender problem. Where are you from?


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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:31 pm

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I am from iNow's home state.


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M_Gabriela
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:40 pm
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Oh,.... did you vote for Trump?


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:55 pm
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Not really relevant here, Gabby

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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 5:15 pm

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I didn't vote.


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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:47 pm

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Did I say something wrong?


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:12 pm
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no, nothing's wrong
it's just that the thread appears to have got sidetracked into off-topic terrain

as for the topic of the OP, I find it rather strange, even in Texas, for there to be so few females represented in your science class
I assume you're not at uni yet ? because at university I'd be REALLY surprised to find such an unequal distribution of the sexes, even in the sciences

do you have any way to gauge how representative your situation is ?

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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:49 am

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No, I'm actually a freshman. Well it depends on which field you're talking about. Engineering courses are almost entirely male at every college. Everyone knows that. And again those were just the people I knew about. There may have been others.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:40 am
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strange - when i was at uni in the early 70s there were exactly 5 girls in a first year population of more than 200, but i thought since then things had changed for the better

clearly not everywhere

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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:39 am

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I attend a university that's church-affiliated (don't want to get more specific than that) so that could be a factor as well, although I don't think so. It's not fundamentalist or anything like that. I'm also Jewish so I'm doubly underrepresented here. :lol:


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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:22 am

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marnixR wrote:
strange - when i was at uni in the early 70s there were exactly 5 girls in a first year population of more than 200, but i thought since then things had changed for the better

clearly not everywhere


And yeah if you think things are better, read the comments every time the subject of girls in science is brought up. Nothing but whining men trashing women and girls, belittling us, saying the fields we do populate (Such as Education or Social work) are "useless", saying we don't need them and generally adhering to the idea that STEM is a Boy's Club.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:37 am
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I suspect there's also a bit of a sampling bias at play here.

If the comments sections around the internet makeup your population, then you're over representing the ignorant hateful trolls willing to speak out and spew bile while under representing the more thoughtful enlightened men who respect women and treat them as equals but who tend not to post in comments sections.

I agree with the thrust of your point. There's still an issue. It's improving, but work remains to be one.

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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 7:37 am

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That's where people say what they don't say to your face. :?


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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:35 am

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I can only speak for the UK but I worked in university science departments for 20 years before becoming a science teacher in a sixth form college and I've yet to see any evidence of sexism or bias by actual scientists or science students. When I was an undergrad women were a minority in science classes (especially a the older universities) but since then universities have put a lot of time, effort and money into remedying this. Most of them now subscribe to this organization:
http://www.ecu.ac.uk/equality-charters/athena-swan/ and take it VERY seriously.

In my experience in schools, classes taking A level sciences are roughly 50/50 (although in one of my chemistry classes men are in the minority at about 35% and this is also the case in a number of biology classes). Physics is a bit of an issue in our place with women being heavily outnumbered (but it is only two classes of ~15 students so not a good sample size).

As iNow said, if you are talking the opinions from comments sections (acknowledged as being cess pits of ignorance) as reality your perceptions will be skewed. If it is something you feel strongly about (and it should be), get involved, go to schools and do outreach activities showing the girls they can do just as well as the lads while they are young, study hard, do well an become a role model for young girls who want to get into science.

As others have said, there is a problem but it is mainly in the public's perception of science. All of us who are scientists (or educators) need to do our bit to make things better.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:57 am
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LilSaber wrote:
... and generally adhering to the idea that STEM is a Boy's Club.


until about a year ago I was working in the steel industry, and the majority of our graduates were female, that's why my impression was that at least in the UK women are no longer a minority in an engineering environment

some of the most active in STEM were our female graduates, so definitely no boy's club there

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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 2:48 pm

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marnixR wrote:
LilSaber wrote:
... and generally adhering to the idea that STEM is a Boy's Club.


until about a year ago I was working in the steel industry, and the majority of our graduates were female, that's why my impression was that at least in the UK women are no longer a minority in an engineering environment

some of the most active in STEM were our female graduates, so definitely no boy's club there

Can I see stars on that?


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g o r t
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:59 am

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My daughter was in Aerospace engineering for a while, the only girl. She changed to I.T. because of guys attitudes.
Too sensitive but it has worked out. I know many idiots, oops, I mean guys in the field and they're mostly not all that.

Do what you want and don't worry about others. Good luck!


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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:29 pm

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g o r t wrote:
My daughter was in Aerospace engineering for a while, the only girl. She changed to I.T. because of guys attitudes.
Too sensitive but it has worked out. I know many idiots, oops, I mean guys in the field and they're mostly not all that.

Do what you want and don't worry about others. Good luck!

I absolutely believe that.


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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:41 pm

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We're also blamed for the tech companies going bankrupt which I'm sure adds to the atmosphere of hostility. Men don't want us to be equals. They want us to be beneath them and will do everything in their power to keep it that way.


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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:03 pm

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Quote:
Men don't want us to be equals. They want us to be beneath them and will do everything in their power to keep it that way.


This is a sweeping generalization that you have not supported, as someone who has had actual experience working in science for decades I call bullshit...
A more cynical person would think this is a Rory sock puppet as she also had a bad habit of posting fact-free emotional crap.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:58 pm
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PhDemon wrote:
A more cynical person would think this is a Rory sock puppet as she also had a bad habit of posting fact-free emotional crap.


IP address doesn't support your suspicion of sockpuppetry

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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 4:59 pm

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Fair enough, it is the same sort of nonsense though...

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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:08 pm

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Of course it's a generalization. Do I need to point out it's not true all the time? That should go without saying.


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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:15 pm

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But people are upset with me so I'll drop the subject.


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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:15 pm

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It is more often not true than true, and therefore an OVERgeneralisation, hence my call of bullshit. This is a science forum, you need to support your statements and be prepared to be called out when you are spouting rubbish. That is one of the things with science, it doesn't matter if you are male/female/other, teenage or pensioner you make an unsupported statement or extrapolate a specific minority case to a general statement that is not true you will be called on it.

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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:22 pm

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I am not upset with you (I have not criticised you personally - OK I compared you to a poster known for posting tosh but that was tongue in cheek), but with the statement you made and the lack of support for it. In science ideas and statements should be questioned (or even attacked) vigorously. Don't take it personally, either defend your position or retract it and then the discussion moves on.

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M_Gabriela
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:33 pm
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LilSaber wrote:
Of course it's a generalization. Do I need to point out it's not true all the time? That should go without saying.


Well...yeah. You should point out it's your opinion, that you don't have the data, ETC ETC. Cause this is a science forum.. You need to support what you are saying....


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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:54 pm

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I just have my own experiences and I know many others do as well. I read an article recently detailing how female students in engineering classes get routinely excluded from projects and get stuck doing mundane and unchallenging tasks that they hate. If I can find it I'll re-post it here.


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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:10 pm

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That is one article about one field, you can't generalise that to the sweeping statement you made... To support your claim you would need to present evidence (preferably peer reviewed, not an opinion piece) that a majority of men across the STEM field do not want women to be equals and actively use their position to make this so. Good luck with that, that behaviour in a university would lead at least to disciplinary measures and the guy probably being fired. Critical thinking skills are important.

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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:59 pm

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I asked another poster for stats but haven't seen them again. In any case, I'll most likely not major in a science field and just keep that as a hobby.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:03 pm
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so what will you be majoring in then ?

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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:03 pm

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If they have not responded at all, wait. If they have responded and not answered your question ask it again. However, bear in mind if the burden of proof is on you they have no obligation to present data in rebuttal until you have supported your claim. That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

Regardless of whether you major in science or not, this is a science forum and a certain level of respect for the methods of science is expected. Ignore that method or don't support your assertions you WILL be called on it.

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Last edited by PhDemon on Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:04 pm

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I have no idea. I'm not good at anything else.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:19 pm
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then I'd advise you to go for what you're good at, despite your reservations about the gender imbalance, otherwise you might regret it for the rest of your life
there is life after graduation, and surely you won't forever be stuck in an environment where such an imbalance is maintained, because it's not like that everywhere

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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:28 pm

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I'm not really good at that either. My time here makes that apparent.


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PhDemon
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:31 pm

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But that can change, use this forum to hone your critical thinking skills and learn how to present arguments. These are important in science but are very hard to teach. Consider the forum an extracurricular activity to improve. I'm not trying to be nasty, believe it or not I'm trying to get you to think like a scientist.

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:50 pm
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Lilsaber, I strongly encourage you to follow the advice given by Marnix and PhDemon.

If it would help you to talk to some actual women working in scientific fields, I know a professor of paleobotany who could probably give you advice or possibly get you in contact with someone in the field you are pursuing that could help you. Unfortunately I only know people in paleontology, but years ago when I needed to contact a physicist for a project, she helped get me in touch with one.

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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:10 pm

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I said right at the start I thought the critics could be right. There are other options. The "easy" majors are always there for me.


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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 9:00 pm
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LilSaber wrote:
I said right at the start I thought the critics could be right. There are other options. The "easy" majors are always there for me.

Don't listen to the critics, science is for anyone regardless of gender. Women have been an important part of science for ages. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_science

Here's just a few
Quote:
-Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas and Ruth Lichterman were six of the original programmers for the ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic computer.
-Linda B. Buck is a neurobiologist who was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Richard Axel for their work on olfactory receptors.
-Biologist and activist Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, a work on the dangers of pesticides, in 1962.
-Eugenie Clark, popularly known as The Shark Lady, is an American ichthyologist known for her research on poisonous fish of the tropical seas and on the behavior of sharks.
-Ann Druyan is an American writer, lecturer and producer specializing in cosmology and popular science. Druyan has credited her knowledge of science to the 20 years she spent studying with her late husband, Carl -agan, rather than formal academic training. She was responsible for the selection of music on the Voyager Golden Record for the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 exploratory missions. Druyan also sponsored the Cosmos 1 spacecraft.
-Gertrude B. Elion was an American biochemist and pharmacologist, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1988 for her work on the differences in biochemistry between normal human cells and pathogens.
-Sandra Moore Faber, with Robert Jackson, discovered the Faber–Jackson relation between luminosity and stellar dispersion velocity in elliptical galaxies. She also headed the team which discovered the Great Attractor, a large concentration of mass which is pulling a number of nearby galaxies in its direction.
-Zoologist Dian Fossey worked with gorillas in Africa from 1967 until her murder in 1985.
-Astronomer Andrea Ghez received a MacArthur "genius grant" in 2008 for her work in surmounting the limitations of earthbound telescopes.
-Maria Goeppert-Mayer was the second female Nobel Prize winner in Physics, for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. Earlier in her career, she had worked in unofficial or volunteer positions at the university where her husband was a professor. Goeppert-Mayer is one of several scientists whose works are commemorated by a U.S. postage stamp.
-Sulamith Low Goldhaber and her husband Gerson Goldhaber formed a research team on the K meson and other high-energy particles in the 1950s.
-Carol Greider and the Australian born Elizabeth Blackburn, along with Jack W. Szostak, received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 12:20 am

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I know of all of those people. They have their own article because they're the exception.


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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:03 am
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Look I'm not going to tell you should choose to do. I'll just say that the only way for there to be more women in STEM fields is if more women stick to their guns and don't allow themselves to be intimidated by the jerks. Further when they encounter sexist behavior, they have to call attention to it. Not all men think women are lesser than men. Some just don't see firsthand how women are being shunned or treated as second rate citizens and need it shown to them.

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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 1:42 am

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Just speculation but I imagine the reason many don't speak up is they feel the backlash would not be worth it and might damage their ambitions.

OAN, that list did not include many of my heroes. Nancy Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Annie Cannon and Maria Mitchell (among others) because if you hadn't guessed, my obsession is with space and astronomy.


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OldChemE
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:18 pm

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Whatever you do is, of course, up to you. But-- if you like what you do in science don;t let the predominance of men in your area bother you. I went through this same thing (from the other side) in college (I am male, by the way). We had one woman studying Chemical Engineering among all the men, and she was not brilliant-- just a good average college student. She calmly put up with the male atmosphere for the first year until we gradually got to know her and ended up forming a study group (Myself, two other men, and her). She did fine, and we all learned more about the equality of the sexes. Yes, it took us awhile, but it ended up being a great four years of friendship. She did not graduate anywhere near the top of the class, but she is today on the board of directors of a major drug company. It can be done and you don't have to be one of those famous women in order to succeed.


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LilSaber
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:02 am

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OldChemE wrote:
Whatever you do is, of course, up to you. But-- if you like what you do in science don;t let the predominance of men in your area bother you. I went through this same thing (from the other side) in college (I am male, by the way). We had one woman studying Chemical Engineering among all the men, and she was not brilliant-- just a good average college student. She calmly put up with the male atmosphere for the first year until we gradually got to know her and ended up forming a study group (Myself, two other men, and her). She did fine, and we all learned more about the equality of the sexes. Yes, it took us awhile, but it ended up being a great four years of friendship. She did not graduate anywhere near the top of the class, but she is today on the board of directors of a major drug company. It can be done and you don't have to be one of those famous women in order to succeed.


Thanks for at least giving me a good laugh. :lol:


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One beer
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:03 pm
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LilSaber, I am just off to work so only have time for a brief comment.

The world is not fair, but you do not appear to believe in yourself. In several of your posts you say you are not good at things.

You are capable of great things. Women can be scientists, engineers, astronauts, Prime ministers, airline pilots. The Sky at Night TV program in the the UK is co-presented by a woman, (sorry, I don't know her name).

Yes, you will have to put up with bullshit from males, and the males who do this are usually scared of females. Being a male myself I cannot begin to tell you how to deal with this. But don't put yourself down.

You might not be able to become a weight lifter or a virtuoso violonist - most of us can't - but you can do almost anything else you want to if you put your mind to it.

Be strong.

OB


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Zinjanthropos
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 3:58 pm
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Hey girl, it's all about space and how you manage it. I'm talking about that area between your ears. One other thing, don't step in the bullshit. From what I've read you seem to be managing space nicely but you've got plenty of crap to deal with.

Personally I think someone needs a fella, despite how we seem to be the source of your despondency. My departed M-I-L used to say there's a lid for every pot.

I wouldn't know but maybe there are support groups for women in your situation....perhaps one of them can lift your spirits.

_________________
"Science is much better than religion because our faith is shakeable. There can be something I believe with all my heart to be absolutely true, and the minute there's evidence that it isn't true, I throw it out like yesterday's garbage"-Krauss


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One beer
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:58 am
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Off the top of my head, other jobs females do very well are CEOs, vets, dentists, doctors, classical musicians, Head teachers, politicians, estate agents, code breaking, mathematics, solicitors, lawyers, judges.

Was it not a female scientist who conducted x-ray crystallography work which revealed the helical structure of DNA ?

Look up Naomi Climer (sic). She started as a junior electronic engineer in the BBC, and put up with her male colleagues' old fashioned attitudes towards females in a traditionally male role. But she took it in good grace and shrugged it off. She worked her way up to being the President of IET; the Institute of Engineering and Technology.

I would suggest that since you like science, why not get a job in a local laboratory or technology company, and give yourself say 10 years to work your way to the top and become the person in charge.

Naomi Climer is very interested in diversity and women working in technology, so If it was me, I would be very bold and email her to ask for advice.

Good luck.

OB


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Zinjanthropos
Post  Post subject: Re: Despondent science-loving girl.  |  Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:14 pm
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One beer wrote:
Was it not a female scientist who conducted x-ray crystallography work which revealed the helical structure of DNA ?


In some ironic twist, I think the quote summarizes LilSaber's despondency. People forget her name (Rosalind Franklin) in part because two male scientists (Crick & Watson) took all the credit.

_________________
"Science is much better than religion because our faith is shakeable. There can be something I believe with all my heart to be absolutely true, and the minute there's evidence that it isn't true, I throw it out like yesterday's garbage"-Krauss


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