The race to find a silver bullet to solve the “Where are all the girls in science and engineering?” puzzle is fast and furious. And as someone who works to encourage and support women studying in science and engineering fields, I worry our efforts often end up pitting the “pink sparkly girls” against the “digging for worms on a rainy day” ones.
I was one of the girls digging for worms. Rainy days were awesome when I was a kid: I would throw a swimsuit under my play clothes and hit the street. My mom use to talk about her horror of finding me building a mud dam in the street, trying to keep the river of storm water from getting to the sewer system. (Of course, that is also one of my favorite memories from childhood.) For me, science has always had a hold on my brain and heart. From archeology to the space program, I loved it all. Okay, maybe not genetics. Fruit flies were sooooo boring. And with my gift to kill plants, botany was a huge failure for me. But as a biology major, I had to take it all. Keep reading »
“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.”
– President Obama’s statement on the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
I have never been happier to see my daughter than the moment on Friday evening when I picked her up from her Girl Scouts pizza party. I made a beeline for her, hugged the stuffing out of her, kissed her and repeated. The repeat treatment was on behalf of a friend who does not have children, but loves her friends’ children as her own. Keep reading »
“Disney is releasing a Latina princess soon, mija,” I declared to my daughter as we drove away from her school and on our way to pick up her dad. “Good!” she said firmly. But of course, I rarely let that be the end of any conversation. “Why good?” I probed.
What followed was a discussion of how we both recognized that Latinas deserve a princess that looks like them — this is despite the fact that my husband and I worked hard to minimize “the princess effect” in our home. Princesses were far from banned. Rather we opted for a different approach: we emphasize strong princesses like Leia, Wonder Woman and Xena (not a real princess, but warrior princesses counted). I also would bring up real-life princesses who did good in the world whenever I could. Oh, the way I used to bring up Princess Diana and Queen Noor! Goodness. We also discussed the strong traits of the Disney princess kingdom: Ariel was adventurous, Belle loved to read and Rapunzel knew how to wield a cast-iron skillet. As you can see, we aren’t anti-Princess, but we are anti-”I’m a pretty-princess waiting for a prince to save me.” Keep reading »
This is not the change I voted for. Nor how I thought the year would end for women’s rights in the USA. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius recently overruled scientists at the Federal Drug Administration and blocked a move to allow for Plan B emergency contraception, also known as the morning after pill, to be sold over-the-counter without age restriction. Her rationale was to protect 11-year-old girls from taking something that might harm them. President Obama backed her up, asked us to use “common sense” and pulled the daddy card.
Well, I’m pulling the mommy card. Keep reading »