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July 22, 2011

We ain't where we should be, but we ain't where we were.

Oh my you really have to be of a certain age to remember "A Double Bind". What's the big deal? The date and the full title may help explain. In 1975, 36 years ago, "for the first time in America, minority women in science, engineering, medicine and dentistry met together to discuss their unique position as the most underrepresented and probably overselected group in the scientific disciplines".

Based on the conference, FairerScience friend Shirley Malcom, Paula Quick Hall and Janet Welsh Brown wrote "The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science".

Now 35 years later the Harvard Educational Review (sorry it's behind a paywall) has published a series of papers on "Unraveling the Double Bind." I'm hoping you can get access to it. Shirley and her daughter Lindsey Malcom (the first author) have written a fascinating piece "The Double Bind: The Next Generation" where they look at the progress that has been made and what needs to be done. I know I am a total sucker for mother/daughter pieces but you should know it is in great part because If the generations don't write together, we old folks will not have our assumptions challenged and the young folks will have a less nuanced understanding of the world from whence they have come. Lindsey and Shirley nailed it.

In addition there are several other interesting articles, including a very useful synthesis of the research on women of color in STEM, written by FairerScience friend Mia Ong (yes we here at FairerScience are very fortunate to have the friends we do) and her colleagues.

We ain't where we should be, but we ain't where we were.

July 09, 2011

Love and rememberence

As you all know I rarely write about personal things here, but today something happened that I thought you should know. In March my friend Adeline Naiman died. Adeline was, well Adeline. I wrote about her in December. Yup she was at the birth of Charlie and the MTA. Ok for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about just listen.. BTW this was the censored version.

Adeline was so much more than that- her work on getting kids to computers and oh yes always about advancing women and girls in science was just great. A major part of Adeline was her devotion to all things Marimekko. After she died, her sons invited her friends to come and go through her collection and pick some things for us. I did that today. It was a wonderful experience.

Thank you Alaric, Kieron.Joris and Lesya, I so miss your Mom

July 01, 2011

Should evolution be taught in schools?

The question: What the heck kind of a question is that?
The answer: One that was asked at this year's Miss USA contest.

The contestants' responses in alphabetical order are here. It's long and really depressing-so I will just give you a preview:

Miss Alabama: No she doesn't believe in evolution and it shouldn't be taught in school

Miss Alaska: Yes because evolution is part of our history but she personally doesn't believe in it

Miss Arizona: It's important to present both sides of the story and let students chose for themselves

Miss Arkansas: She never learned about evolution in school but if others feel they need to teach it to their children...

and that's just the A's. BTW before you get suicidal, you should know Miss California, bless her heart, is a "huge science geek" . She is however waaaaaay in the minority.

So should the next question be: "Should math be taught in schools?" The mock answers are pretty funny until you think about how closely they reflect the contestants' real answers about whether evolution should be taught in schools.