Tag Archives: Equality

Girls in STEM: The Women of NASA

24 Jul

If you have about 50 minutes of time I strongly encourage you to watch the video below. It’s an all-women panel made up of NASA employees discussing how to get more girls and women into the STEM field. But what is STEM you might ask. Let me clear that up for you real quick.

STEM is an acronym of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In Germany, this is referenced as MINT. While the number of women in this field has increased over the last couple of decades it is still not made up equally of men and women, men are domineering these fields and that is something education policies are trying to address. As an Industrial Engineer, I fall into this STEM field and it’s true. Of the 200-something first year students, less than 50 were female. My AP math and physics classes in high school were made up of similar ratios which is something I don’t get. Yes, every person has a different set of skills but women are not categorically worse at math or science just because they are women. Instead we are, from an early age on, pressed into these categories.

Girls play with dolls and boys get to fix stuff with their fathers. These are the things that influence us throughout our lives. It doesn’t have to be like this though. I was very lucky, my uncle, Mr. PhD in Physics, was giving me all these great gifts for Christmas and my birthdays each year. I got a microscope, electronic sets, Lego Technics and much more of these things that are not typically girls toys. And I am grateful for it. As a kid I never knew this to be something special but as an adult I can appreciate it even more so. Having grown up with a father who didn’t change the tires on his car himself or even change a lightbulb in the house and a mother who was not that handy herself, I learned a lot of things at an early age because there was nobody there to do it for me. Even more so after my father left when I was a teenager. Either I did the things or they didn’t get done so I stepped up and rightfully so.

Watching the panel above reminded me of how far we’ve already gotten but also of the long road that is still ahead of us. But just watching these women talk about their work has me all excited because they are so excited about their work to begin with. I am a grown woman but listening to them I’m like a little kid standing in front of a fire truck admiring the view. And I can’t even imagine what this does to girls in primary or middle school, seeing what anyone can accomplish if you set your mind to it. Seeing that as a girl, you cannot only become a nurse or house wife but you can become an astronaut as well! You can work with the brightest minds of the country, discover new galaxies, see the world from space and many more things.

And a note to those of you who think that NASA is not important, I beg to differ. The research they are doing is not only so they can send people into space, every day lives are improved by it. If you don’t believe me, follow this link. At the moment NASA is researching the bone and muscle loss of astronauts which will eventually help older people with less dense bones and the treatment of their conditions. These are just some examples. Many people may know the joke about the competition between the US and Soviet space programs. Faced with the challenge of writing in zero gravity, NASA spent millions on inventing a pen that works in zero gravity while the Soviets used a pencil. But as one of the panelists said “fail and fail often”, it’s a good thing. It means we are aiming high enough and there is no shame in failing as long as we get back up. Also, ask as many questions as possible. Ask people for help to try and get where you want to get to in life.

One of my favourite quotes from this panel is by Edward Teller upon being asked wether women should be allowed to become astronauts. He said: “Yes, in fact, only women should go to space. More brains per pound.” There you have it ladies. Don’t take no for an aster. Be bold and don’t accept being told you can’t do something just because you’re female. And most importantly, teach your kids these values, push your daughters not only to play with dolls but get them a tool set and vice versa for the boys.

For further information visit Women@NASA


Getting Caught Up

29 Oct

I realised that I haven’t written much in October but there was not much happening in my life these past weeks. I’m still too lazy on schoolwork and should definitely look for a thesis and I think I know where I’m going to end but I’m also not in a big rush at the moment. Agh, I’m too comfortable in my procrastinating ways and this weekend my uncle was/ still is here with his family so I’ve been hanging out with them quite a bit. My focus is still a bit lost but I fully plan on catching up with what I should have been doing this week. Thursday is a holiday over here which is always a good place to start with organising one’s thoughts and goals – or avoid it altogether and getting hooked up on Zombie fan fiction.

November will be NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – and even though I’m not planning on participating I’ll honour all of the writers out there with doing a 30 day book challenge. I’m not sure if this is such a good idea as some of you may be too caught up in your writing while I spam your inboxes with a post every day. Here are the topics I’ll be blogging about the next 30 days:

Day 01 – Best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favorite title
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

In other news, I’ve been following the presidential race in the US because a) you can’t get around it and b) it’s quite entertaining and easier than our political races. Much has already been written about Mitt Romney and especially Todd Akin’s new definition of rape. I hope all of you who live in the US and get to vote on Nov. 6th know who to vote for. I’m going to throw a bunch of videos at you in the following of stuff I recently came across, so here it goes then:

First of all, let Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy, explain to you how a President Romney would equal a Zombie apocalypse.

Then we have Tina Fey speaking out against Todd Akin’s attempt at redefining ‘rape’. I adore Tina Fey and this only makes me love her more (as if that were even possible).

Want to see a bunch of awesome actors telling you to sign the Bill concerning female reproductive rights? Then this is for you #drawtheline because it’s important. Sign the bill at http://drawtheline.org and tell your friends about it.

If you don’t know where you stand on marriage equality, take a look at this.

And last but not least, here’s Ellen making fun of the fact that Bic now promotes pens especially for women. We’ve been using man-pens all these years, can you believe it? Oh Ellen, you magnificent funny lady. She was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour this month which she totally deserves.

Ok, this is enough for now, I’ll be in your inboxes daily in November. Take care, especially those of you in the vicinity of Sandy. Stay safe everyone!

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

9 Aug

One year ago I created this blog and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t know how it all really worked. Most of all, I didn’t know how much I would be needing this medium to vent in the months to come.

Not only writing my posts but also commenting on other’s thoughts was/is a great experience. Nothing like the internet to find like-minded people, right? I love the followers that leave comments on my blog and sometimes I wish there were more of them but I know that I’m not the best commentator either. Sometimes I just hit ‘Like’ to let the person know I was there and read it but I didn’t have the time or brain capacity to write a deserving comment. I love to get to know people all around the world and in 12 short months, there are even some I consider friends. This is remarkable since reading my posts must feel like being inside my head (which is not always a place I would want to be) but they read it nonetheless. A big THANK YOU to all of my loyal readers for putting up with my (sometimes repetitious) posts.

Coincidentally this is my 70th post. It’s neither 50 or 100 but it’s still a nice even number. Well, nice number is a rather subjective thing. I actually prefer uneven numbers, prime numbers are the best. Why you might ask? My answer: First of all because I’m crazy and second, because I like the fact that they cannot be divided by anything else then 1 and themselves. 13, 23, 37…those are really cool numbers to me but round numbers are considered the big celebratory deal so I just roll with it here.

Gosh, what else did I want to say?

Argh, I thought there would be so much more to say but I don’t really want to do a recap of my year in blogging as I feel boring enough as it is.

I’d much rather spend some lines on the topic of marriage equality. First of all, I don’t understand why same sex marriage must be called a civil union, why can’t marriage be marriage and we’d be done with it? Yesterday the highest German court again ruled in favour of marriage equality yet our legislation is more than reluctant to even give gay people in civil unions the chance to have the same tax benefits as straight couples.

The Minister-President of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer, told the newspapers that marriage between one woman and one man must be kept special because only that can be considered a true family because the purpose of marriage and family is to reproduce – to breed – and you can’t naturally do so in a same sex relationship. (This is a loose translation but it’s basically what he said) Strictly following this, every couple with an infertile partner should’t be able to marry or if already married should be degraded to a civil union. But that is just stupid right? Right! And what about couples like my godmother? She chose not to have children with her husband but nobody tells them their marriage, i.e. commitment to each other, does count less.

A child cannot be adopted equally by a same sex couple which is bullshit. Our (german) law would rather let children stay in foster care than give them two loving mommies or two loving daddies. I think this is wrong!

I could ramble on and on and still would not understand it. I can only hope that people and especially politicians will start to realise that it does not matter who you love and want to spent the rest of your lives with.

I was a Feminist first

21 Jun

Let me start this post by telling you that doing two plays in one day is hard work. Seriously! Today I spent nearly 10 hours at our theater for two performances. Even though looking at the happy and cheerful eyes of 840 kids is extremely rewarding but it is still hard work. Now I’m pretty beat and tired but I still have to prepare something for uni tomorrow. Only, I have to wind down first, which I do by eating candy, watching a movie I already know, oh, and blogging of course.

Now onto this post. Yesterday the faboulous Rishita of readmeanything started live tweeting her reading of 50 Shades of Grey (or better 50 Shades of Bullshit :D) and this female character called Ana Steele seems to be a total disgrace to every responsible and free willed woman. I haven’t read the series because I can’t bring myself to do it, these days my time is a bit too scarce to waste it on those three books when I could be reading something interesting instead. But I’ve read about the books and also held them in my hands just two days ago. I gave up after reading the first half page though because I couldn’t take it.

I believe that 50 Shades of Bullshit is pretty similar to the Twilight series, which I read in a masochistic attempt of wasting time during the height of it’s popularity. Back then I needed to see it with my own eyes to be able to asses it. 50 Shades is kinda like Twilight only with more sex, or at least that is my understanding of it.

I get why women read sex books, I do it too, of course, but there are good one’s out there and bad one’s. Like a decent storyline is a must! I love the kinda sci-fi-crime-novel-sex-book In Death series by Nora Roberts. This series is awesome because I love the Eve Dallas character so much. She is strong and very capable and doesn’t need a man to function, she only wants one. See, to me, this makes a big difference.

Bella was badly written and boring. She transformed herself into a half-dead to spend eternity with a man who glitters in the sunlight. Also, I could never get over the fact that Edward impregnated her. How can he even get an erection when there is no blood actively running through his veins or any other bodily fluid? I was told that this is fiction, and I understand that but I have never heard of a half human half vampire baby before. Sorry. Maybe I took to many science classes in school but it’s just the way my mind works.

Buffy would have staked Edward the second she had the chance to it. Now that is a strong female character I think every girl needs to watch. After all, she saves the world more than once during the run of the show. She did it with the help of her friends even if she had to go against the man she loves and that is a good thing.

Now I’ve rambled on for 500 words and you may ask yourself if this is ever going to end or come back to the title. Well, I hope so :D I grew up around two strong women, my mom and my granny. They taught me that you can be a decent human being without burying your believes because they don’t fit with those of a man or any partner. I learnt that financial independence is a very important thing, one should never be dependent, financial or otherwise! Of course, being in a relationship is a good thing, most of us want it, but you can go on living after it falls apart too.

A woman is as good as any man when it comes to working. Still most women are paid less for performing the same job as men. Such hypocrisy and inequality! I cringe when I think about how hard it was for women to get the right to vote and that it took some of them until the 80s after they were allowed to finally do so (yes, I’m talking about you, Switzerland)! There are probably still parts of the world where women are oppressed, where young girls are believed to be less worthy of an education than boys and that their voice doesn’t count but they do! We are all equal!

I was always very independent, I can stand up to any man and I am proud of it! But it pains me that even in 2012 women have to fight much harder for certain things than men do, that they are paid less. Books like 50 Shades of Grey and Twilight don’t help, they portray women in bad ways, especially to girls and young women when they should be looking up to strong female characters not weak ones who cannot resist a guy because he pulls out his dick and has their way with them.

Me being born a woman goes hand in hand with my being a feminist. I wear this label proudly, I always have even when it wasn’t meant to be a compliment I took it that way. So, I was a feminist before I was anything else because I was raised that way. Nobody told me I couldn’t do anything because I was a girl and that’s how it should be.

Let us all be independent and equal people! Tell your daughters and nieces that they can do whatever they set their minds to! That it is ok to speak up for their believes and opinions! Oh, and don’t raise your sons like machos who think women are their servants! Teach love and respect!

Thank you for reading my rambling nonsense, I needed to vent and this is my platform. See ya!

%d bloggers like this: