Happy Wednesday, ladies! If you’ve been following for awhile, you know I like to occasionally write somewhat satirical posts about things that I notice in the world. You can check out one of those here. Today’s post is in the same vein. International Women’s Day was last week, but I didn’t want to share this post then because women’s issues are something we should think about every day, not just one day a year. So today I’m attacking three of the biggest arguments I STILL hear about why women are unsuited to STEM (which is my bread and butter), and turning those arguments on their head.
ARGUMENT: GIRLS ARE TOO EASILY DISTRACTED FOR DEMANDING STEM WORK.
REALITY: TRACKING MULTIPLE LINES OF WORK IS A REQUIRMENT.
This is just the craziest argument I’ve heard. Taken completely outside the world of STEM, the pure fact that women around the world manage to raise several children at once and take care of a home entirely disproves the notion that women are too easily distracted for STEM. Our First World fortune makes us think that 2 or 3 kids is a lot to handle, but it was and still is common for some women to have six, or seven, or eight. Babies, everywhere. Being able to focus on more than one task, then, is a necessity. In STEM, that translates to being able to keep track of multiple avenues of research or projects and quickly troubleshoot issues as they come up. If you want to argue that our history and biology are the limitations, we have to argue that they are, in fact, our strength.
ARGUMENT: GIRLS ARE BETTER SUITED TO CREATIVE STUDIES, LIKE ART AND LITERATURE.
REALITY: CREATIVITY IS THE BASIS FOR NEW METHODS.
This is another one that makes me want to just stare, confused, at the speaker. STEM would not exist as we know it today without creativity, on the part of both women and men. To say that a women’s creativity is better suited to quilting or darning socks is ridiculous. Alternative energy sources, sustainable production, life-saving medications, even metal tools – none of these things would exist unless someone sat down and thought creatively about a problem. Be it from a man or women, anyone who says creativity has no place in STEM needs to take a good, hard look at what STEM folks do. And anyone worth their weight knows that different backgrounds (i.e. diversity) leads to more creative thinking. If all the thinkers in the room are old, white men, well, who’s going to have a diverse enough background to apply different and new thinking to an old problem?
ARGUMENT: GIRLS ARE TOO SENSITIVE FOR THE HARD SCIENCES.
REALITY: COMPASSION LEADS TO WORK THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE.
Well, I know my work in STEM is certainly not concerned with showing how smart and talented I am. Most women in STEM don’t care about building the biggest building or gaining fame and fortune for their intelligence. To say that women are too sensitive for STEM to to completely undermine the power of the field: to actually make a difference in the world and to solve the problems that would lead to the ultimate failure of our society. Compassion, coupled with the creativity mentioned above, is what defines human success. Without both of those things we would never be where we are today. And to say that women cannot be successful in STEM because of those traits totally ignores and erases our achievements as a species and is a sure-fire way to halt scientific and societal progress.
What’s the silliest argument you’ve heard about why women just aren’t good enough? Share below so we can all get a good #Girlboss laugh out of it. ;P