Recently I have been tasked to take a lead on enhancing the participation, recognition and support of women in STEM: particularly electronics and computer science. I may not be making much impact on the approaches and attitudes if my colleagues, but my own radar has been notched up to fine tuned!
I hear stories of everyday realities in education, learning, teaching and subject disciplines frequently presented as heroic narratives with male heroes.
I attend seminars when slides are illustrated by images of male authors, occasional female authors referred to by initials with no images - thus becoming invisible.
In presentations, references to female students encountering difficulties.
Female academic 'actors' referred to in passing, male 'actors' portrayed as the ground breakers and pathfinders.
Faculty discussions to ameliorate the position of female academics and postgrads are characterised by a model of deficits, the women are broken, help them mend themselves.
Discussions focussed on increasing the percentage of female participants focuses on undergraduates and outreach rather than implementing structural changes across the board.
The result?I find myself
increasingly frustrated recognising the 'broken record' effect of this portrayal and discussion.
- wondering about how to make change happen. This stuff is too important to be left to a few (mostly female) evangelists.
- Seeking to identify and champion structural methods af making change happen
- Seeking patronage for change
- Being willing to hand over the kudos for making change happen to anyone else ;-)