What's Up With 'Chicks and Science?' | Dr. Mariappan Jawaharlal

February 23, 2015 9:10 PM

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February 22-28 is National Engineers Week. As we celebrate leaders in the field, we should ask ourselves: how are women doing in the engineering field? Recently, I came across a video in which someone asked a question to a panel of distinguished scientists: "what's up with chicks and science?" America's renowned astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, who was on the panel, volunteered a response. Instead of giving a direct answer, he pointed out that choosing to become an astrophysicist was the most difficult path for him. People expected a young black man to become an athlete, not a scientist. He also talked about the "forces of nature" that tried to keep him down. He then narrated an incident where he was stopped at a store for stealing while the actual thief, a white male walked away. His response, in a nutshell, explains the status of women in the workforce and in engineering in particular.

First, there is this notion that women are not meant for engineering. Engineering requires spatial visualization and hands-on skills that women are simply not good at. 'Forces of nature' will keep females down by perpetuating these myths. These myths are so powerful that even women start buying in t...

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