Tag Archives: Women

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

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!

What is Pinterest?

15 Mar

From the title you may think I’m a fossil. Well, usually I’m not, only on this particular subject. Please help me, what is Pinterest????

I’ve seen it go around Facebook and Twitter but I just don’t really get it. Apparently you can upload pictures and everybody can stick a pin in it, if they agree with it and comment on it. Why would I need this? I’m asking, seriously! I don’t even own a regular pin board, why would I want a virtual one?

I like Facebook and I spend a lot of time there, even when I should be doing other stuff (well that’s the whole purpose of it I think) and I’m no stranger to Twitter. After I got my smartphone, I’m also no stranger to Instagram anymore. But Pinterest? I just don’t know.

Maybe it’s good I’m not interested in it, though, cause with blogging, Twitter, Facebook and studying and working (Jahaa, I am doing something useful from time to time as well! Fell free to be amazed right NOW!) there is not much time left in the days. Oh, I forgot my TV addiction in the previous sentence, probably my biggest time sucker.

Anyway I realize that saying I’m not interested is just temporary. After all, I never wanted to play Farmville, but I ended playing it a lot until I lost interest (thankfully!!). I hope though I will not get infested with the Pinterest-virus.

Pinterest is supposed to be more attractive to women than men, at least when you look at who is using it the most. Does this mean I’m no real women?  Probably not, although it’s not the first time I’m not in sync with the majority of other women. Let me expand:

  • I’m not a big fan of seasonal decoration, why should I go through with the troubles of changing it regularly and what if my ‘normal’ decorations don’t go with them? Am I supposed to throw them out then?
  • I prefer shopping for CDs, Books and Computers over clothes and shoes anytime.
  • I study Engineering.
  • I’m good at math and physics.
  • I never wanted to be a princess while I was growing up. However I wanted to become a P.I.
Then gain, there are the things that let me believe I’m a woman after all^^:
  • Well, there’s the body, can’t deny that fact :D
  • I’m good at baking cakes and bread and whatever it is you can bake.
  • Cooking is ok, not as good as baking but I won’t starve.
  • I do like to wear skirts occasionally.
  • Cheesy, romantic movies are my guilty pleasure, well not all of those out there but the good ones (if there is such a thing).
Looking at the lists makes me ok, I guess not doing whatever everybody else does, may not be a bad sign after all. And not trying to complete my virtual pin-board may actually be a good thing cause it gives me more time to waste on WordPress.
You may ask yourself, what does this have to do with the title? – I dunno. I’m a bit sleep deprived and it seemed to be as good a topic as every other one, so there you go. I’ll try to come up with something better  next time. Until then,
See y’all!
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