More Questions for the Dialogue

Date: Thu Dec 02 1999 - 09:52:05 EST

Summary of Where We Are So Far -

After reading through the statements, I found some common threads:

1. Education for girls and women is a problem, because what we do in class
does not support them.
2. Attitudes toward girls and women in science is a problem, and to make
real headway, we would have to change the attitudes of parents, teachers,
scientists, community/culture, and girls/women themselves.
3. There are some good programs that are changing attitudes and some
agencies (education, government, international) that are working on the
problem, but there is still a lot to be done.

I also found some very tough questions - a lot center around the question
of where to begin. One small beginning is to have more conversations such
as this and, perhaps, to electronically brainstorm some answers.

So in the brainstorming mode, I would like to suggest an approach to the
changing attitude/education problem. While I think that it is very
important for us to provide information, training, professional development
for K-12 teachers, I also think that it would be helpful to invoke some
life-long learning into this process. Mary has a program for mothers and
daughters to learn sciences. I think this is a great approach and would go
one step further. How about if there were some support for Mary to go back
to school and become an engineer? I have not thought this one through in
terms of how/what would need to be put in place, but I have heard many
women lament not following through with more education, training, etc. Why
not encourage them to do so? Sometimes this encouragement would only have
to be in the form of changing some class scheduling to make it possible for
them to go to school and work at the same time. One of the assumptions that
we too frequently make is that we've lost women to science (or any
profession), if they don't do it while they are young. As Londa mentions,
why not ask what women have to offer science (rather than asking women to
conform to science) and then make it possible for them to contribute in
their own time frame.

I look forward to any more brainstorming suggestions, particularly ones
that address some of those tough questions that we posed in our opening

Gay Gordon

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