Re: [EDEQUITY Discussion]Opening Statement for Career Education

From: Cary Brown (
Date: Fri Sep 01 2000 - 12:58:56 EDT

On 30 Aug 2000, at 14:38, Amber Valeris DeWine wrote:
> It's the same thing to me when people complain because girls are not
> participating as much as boys in technical fields. I say.."Boohoo. Boys
> are more interested in technical things than girls are." What's wrong
> that?

Hers' what's wrong - in my work I have firsthand knowledge of the
following things (these are not made up examples):

* In a junior high school classroom there is a computer in the back
of the room for the students to use. When a girl is asked if she ever
uses it, she answers that the boys are always on it so she doesn't
even bother to try for a turn, even though she admits that she would
like to.

* A high school girl wants to take a drafting class - currently
dominated by boys, and taught by a man. When she tells her
guidance counselor this, he says that he will have to check with
the drafting teacher first to find out if it's okay for her, being a girl,
to take the class.

* A woman enrolled in an electrical engineering technology program
at a technical college finds herself the victim of gender-based
teasing, bullying, and ridicule by her male classmates on an
almost daily basis. The male instructor seems concerned that she
is subject to this but throws up his hands in response and does

When experiences like this are what cause girls and women to be
less interested in technical things, then _that_ is what's wrong with
the picture. And these kinds of real inequities are what we need to
do away with, so that some day we will be able to trust that
nobody, male or female, is missing out on doing what they _really_
are interested in doing because cultural stereotypes got in the way.

Cary Brown

Cary Brown
Women in Technology Project 802/728-1510
Vermont Technical College
Randolph Center VT 05061-0500

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