It looks like this week’s theme is women’s equality here at RVS. Enjoy it while you can, ladies. Our memories are short.
As the father of two young daughters, I have come to take a far greater interest in the career paths open for women than I might otherwise have. Sure, they’re both pretty and could probably find rich guys to marry somewhere down the line, but I don’t think there are going to be a whole lot of those among their generation 10 to 15 years from now.
Both of them are intelligent. Yes, everybody thinks their kids are geniuses but I’m saying their testing scores on various cognitive and aptitude tests verify that they possess “above average” intelligence. They clearly have tremendous potential and I want to make sure they are able to find careers in which they can support themselves and raise a family and make a meaningful contribution to society. Perhaps they could work on a cure for some disease or develop a sound weapon that kills jihadists by boiling their eyes. I’m a man of hope.
I’m convinced that such a future can be found for them in the sciences, but it’s still difficult to young women to make much headway.
So, I saw this quick article from The Economist. Now, before I go any further, I want to mention that I’m something of a data scientist these days and it is my opinion that this graph sucks:
I mean, I get what they’re trying to communicate, but I feel like I had to stare at this graph waaaaaay too long and wander all over it to get the point. It’s hard to read and the year ranges are confusing.
Compare it to this one and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Much, much easier to understand what the presenter is trying to demonstrate, isn’t it? There’s definitely an art to it.
This first one could have been better. In fact, I think I should put one together just to prove a point. I could replicate the data and probably produce something better with the software I have. Maybe from there, I could send it to The Economist and either troll them or impress them.
Who knows what the possibilities are and what rewards I could realize with a few hours of work and the dedication to produce a quality data product?
Ah, maybe not. Hey, you can’t argue with Science. Back to what I was saying…
I’ve tried to spark and nurture an interest in the sciences in my girls the only way I know how: by immersing them in Nerd Culture. See, I’m a bit of a nerd myself–no, really, I mean it…oh, I see what you did there, yes–and I can’t help but notice that people who enjoy science fiction, gaming, cosplay, and other geek activities seem to overlap with people who have an interest in Science.
Both of my girls are nerds. They play video games, love anime, and Star Wars and all that. Each got a Game Boy Advance from me when she was three years old to get a head start.
That’s not all, of course. Thrilliana, the older one, is interested in Forensic Science and she’s been pursuing Biology and the advanced Maths. I’ve pledged that when she finishes school, I’ll help her get an in with some of the law enforcement contacts I’ve made over the years.
I made sure Thrilla got a kid’s science kit for her birthday last year and she loves using it. I’m not sure what she’s researching that requires the use of all of the food coloring in the kitchen, but we’ll get more before Easter. She wants to be a veterinarian because she loves animals, particularly dogs.
My questions are these:
- Why is it so hard to persuade young women to enter the STEM fields? I worry that my daughters will lose sight of what they want to do and settle for less fulfilling or less challenging work.
- What else do either you women or you parents of daughters who pursued work in the sciences recommend I do to help them along? I’m guessing they need more than Minecraft.
I strongly believe that this is an important social issue and it’s one that affects my family’s future.