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November 30, 2011

Blogging works!

So remember that post from a couple of days ago? Yes that one about the boys' novelty kits and as our wonderful FairerScience friends pointed out there were stereotipic girls' kits as well. Well guess what-- while the kits (which look really cool) still exist-- Edmond Scientifics is no longer breaking them out by sex stereotypes.

As they explain

We have officially removed the Girls and Boys Novelty Kits categories from our site and replaced them with a single Novelty Science Kits category. Our original intent was not to project gender bias, but to organize our product selection in a way that makes it easy to find specific items. We now realize that decision resulted in a category structure projecting gender bias and defining gender roles. We regret that choice, as it does not reflect our intent or beliefs.

Thanks so much Edmond Scientifics. I'm so glad to have you back as one of the places I can trust to get cool things to get kids I care about more involved in science.

Do a good deed and maybe get some cookies: An update

Yes folks we’ve set up a website, “Doing Better Evaluations with Underrepresented Groups” (in STEM) for folks to share resources tied to doing, well what the title says. It’s just live but there are already a few resources up at and with your help there will soon be a lot more.

In case you have forgotten Eric Jolly of the Science Museum of Minnesota and I are on a mission. The mission * is to find out as much as we can about how to better design, implement, and assess the quality of evaluations of projects and programs targeting specific under-represented groups. This includes women, people with different types of disabilities, and people from different racial/ethnic groups. We are developing a guide and tip sheets that will be available in print, and even better, in interactive formats. In order to keep this from being a completely overwhelming mission, we are focusing on projects and programs tied to STEM workforce development at the post high school level.

Help us out by uploading resources, research or whatever you think would be useful here. Do it and you will get our thanks, credit, a copy of the final materials, and three of you will be randomly selected to receive multiple dozens of Pat’s famous chocolate chip cookies.

November 23, 2011

Boys Science Novelty Kits


Dear Edmund Scientific

You have two choices, either change Boys Novelty Kits to Kids Novelty Kits or take me off of your mailing list.

Thank you

Patricia B. Campbell, PhD

FairerScience friends please feel free to send similar e-mails. It is difficult to believe that only boys might want, for example, a Science Is Magic kit but it is even more difficult to believe that in 2011 this kind of thing is still happening and from Edmund Scientific for heavens sake. And no I could not find "Girls Novelty Kits" and I have no idea if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

November 21, 2011

Why I walked Chancellor Katehi out of Surge II tonight

Please please just read this. No humor, no snark-- as I said on Facebook I am of an age that I can only be reminded of Martin Luther King and his philosophy of non-violence when I see this video of the next generations being pepper sprayed for their peaceful dissent. Kristin Stoneking (whom I don't know but hope very much to meet) has written a very powerful piece about as the title says "Why I walked Chancellor Katehi out of Surge II tonight". Please read it and if you would like feel free to comment on it but more than that I would like you to think about what we all should do next.

Thank you

November 18, 2011

Where the women are: The inequality map

A couple of days ago I read a column by NY Times columnist David Brooks called The Inequity Map. He riffs on the issue that since we have so many different kinds of inequality, how we can tell which are socially acceptable and which are not. For example:

Technological inequality is acceptable. If you are the sort of person who understands the latest hardware and software advances, who knows the latest apps, it is acceptable to lord your superior connoisseurship over the aged relics who do not understand these things.

Cultural inequality is unacceptable. If you are the sort of person who attends opera or enjoys Ibsen plays, it is not acceptable to believe that you have a more refined sensibility than people who like Lady Gaga, Ke$ha or graffiti.

Interestingly he says that "On the other hand, ethnic inequality — believing one group is better than another — is unacceptable (this is one of our culture’s highest achievements)" and says nothing about gender.

Too bad because there is one really acceptable inequality that we so need to speak about. It is that it is totally acceptable to pay people less just because they have the "misfortune" to work in a field with more women in it. Doesn't matter about skills or education needed.-- more women in a field means less status and value.

The most recent example is Where the Women Are: Biology. So who cares that biomedical research is like saving our lives and those of our parents and our children. Since there are too many women in it; it has got to be close to worthless.

The (sigh female) economist explains "Young women don’t realize they are limiting their pay and job options by flocking to the same field." The acceptance that fields with more women or that become more feminine are less valued is just the way it is and that the answer is to go into a male dominated field made me want to crawl into the bed, put the covers over my head and not get out. Luckily my second response, as I hope yours is, is to fight back

November 10, 2011

Jailbreak the Patriarchy

Jailbreak the Patriarchy has got to be the best ap ever. Why?

Well because:

Jailbreak the Patriarchy gender swaps the world for you. When it's installed, everything you read in Chrome (except for gmail, so far) loads with pronouns and a reasonably thorough set of other gendered words swapped. For example: "he loved his mother very much" would read as "she loved her father very much", "the patriarchy also hurts men" would read as "the matriarchy also hurts women", that sort of thing.

Reading about this, I started thinking about Dorothy L Sayers 1947 essay Human-Not Quite Human where she inverted the "cliches of gender" so that people would write books about "The History of the Male", "Males of the Bible" or "The Psychology of the Male" and textbooks, she explains, would have supplementary chapters on, for example, “The Position of the Male in the Perfect State” while main portion dealt with human needs and rights.

And now thanks to Danielle Sucker (who is-- are you ready for this? -a freelance attorney, beekeeper, artist, chef, photographer, writer and obviously ap developer) we can do that ourselves for everything on the web.

She gives you all the details here.

Gotta go; gotta go download Chrome and then of course Jailbreak the Patriarchy. And oh yes the ap is free!

Thanks to FairerScience friend David Mortman for letting me know about this.