Re: New AAUW Study

marylin hulme (
17 Jul 1998 15:03:26 -0000

Forwarded by


Mark's attached email message (after my sig file) about the new AAUW study on
gender, technology and teacher education reminded me that I need to share with
you a rather depressing experience from MacWorld Expo, which took place last
week in New York City.
We attended the Expo at the behest of our son, who wanted to participate in
the gaming competition (his speciality is Quake). Steve Jobs, who was
supposed to present the keynote onn 7/8 by satellite, surprised everyone by
walking on stage. He then spoke for 2 hours (audiotape ($20) or videotape
($30) is available from 888-VWTAPES or > He announced
that in the 63 days that had elaspsed between the announcement of the iMac
on May 6 and the Expo, 177 applications had been announced for the iMac.
Many software developers are now returning to support the Mac. He indicated
that there would be a major emphasis on games, since games push the
technology. He then reeled off a number of games for teenage boys, who, for
him are a key target audience. If they grow up with the Mac, then they will
develop software for the Mac. When he finished, he said that there also would
be software for girls and cited Mattel's Barbie and the Cosmopolitan

PLEASE!!! Someone needs to raise Steve Job's consciousness about the need for
quality thinking software for girls who aren't into violence at the level of
decapitations, etc.
Despite the violence inherent in Quake (no decapitation here, and he hasn't
gotten Carmaggedon, yet), our son has convinced me that there is inherent value
in the game. When Quake is played with teams competing against each other, the
members are assigned different roles, and significant strategizing and
cooperation are required. In other words, the kids, while playing, are having to
think on their feet and problem solve. And, in preparation for their online
competitions, these teams organize themselves and practice, practice, practice
(and we adults say kids don't like redundancy and are easily bored?). Now, what
does the Cosmopolitan Make-Over offer?

Jobs ended his presentation with a marketing video: a 7 year old boy and his
dog Brodie working on an iMac vs. a male 26 year old Stanford graduate working
on an HP PC. Naturally, the 7 year old, with help from his male dog Brodie,
finished and had the iMac running in 8 minutes, whereas the 26 year old required
another 10+ minutes. Now, why couldn't a 7 year old girl have been used, or at
the very least, a female dog? ;-> For those who saw Jurassic Park, Steven
Spielberg did acquiese and allow the girl to be the computer whiz.
In summary, to attract girls to technology, there need to be compelling reasons
for them to want to use the technology, and in my book, Cosmopolitan Make-Over
ain't it. However, girls also need to seize the opportunity to excel in the
technical aspects instead of remaining on the side lines.
Let me end by sharing some captions from the cartoon Wiley's Non Sequitur:
Setting the stage - first panel: young boy is in front of his computer playing
a violent computer game, with lots of BLAM * EEK ARRRGH!! KA-BOOMS. >

Mother: These computer games all seem to be just boy-oriented......Why can't
they design some with feminine sensibilities?
Son: Perhaps the answer is for women to get into computer programming and
develop the games they want rather than whine and expect men to fix it for them.
P.S. It's not just Steve Jobs who needs consciousness raising. How many
teachers, in need of computer technical assistance, look to girls for help? Or
do they have a favorite boy to whom they always turn? I hope AAUW will seek out
Dennis Harper from Olympia SD for advice, since several years ago, the systems
administrator for Olympia SD was a female high school student (now Dennis, why
couldn't you be a woman?). ;-> >

>Patsy Wang-Iverson
>Mid-Atlantic Eisenhower Consortium (
>Research for Better Schools
>444 N. Third Street
>Philadelphia, PA 19123-4107
>w: 215-574-9300 x264
>f: 215-574-0133

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