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In England They Call It SECT

FairerScience coPI Susan Bailey has been doing some interesting reading this summer:

A new book by Alison Phipps, Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (Trentham Books, UK and USA, 2008), looks at more than three decades of initiatives in the UK on women in science, engineering, construction and technology (SECT). The author looks at 150 programs including classroom research interventions, network development, after school programs and training programs for women returning to the workforce, all designed to increase the participation and success of women and girls in SECT. By taking an historical perspective and using both archival information and personal interviews, this overview provides an interesting starting point for further discussion of the assumptions underlying the programs and the ways in which these assumptions influenced their success. The author argues that too often the assumption is that the problem resides solely in women and girls rather than looking at the co-construction of gender and SECT. She argues for an approach that is more systematic as opposed to “fixing” individual women.

The discussion she calls for implies a wider responsibility, for not just women, but business and government as well must look beyond “…..changing women to fit SECT, {to}… reshaping SECT to be more welcoming to women from all social backgrounds and to men who do not fit the masculine ideal of a SECT worker.” (p.150)

Interesting and thought provoking reading for a summer afternoon!