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girls and K-12 science education

forsburg at molbiol.ox.ac.uk forsburg at molbiol.ox.ac.uk
Mon Jan 18 12:43:20 EST 1993

In article <1993Jan17.174145.1 at max.u.washington.edu>,
 wijsman at max.u.washington.edu writes:
> Dear netters - 
> I would like to solicit discussion in THIS newsgroup on the topic of
> how we get and keep more girls in the pipeline, including any ideas
> people might have on approaches to science which specifically
> encourage the girls, encouragement or discouragement they can remember
> from their early years, etc. The issues here are probably more 
> international that issues of how to teach science in general, so I
> welcome views from my colleagues who are not in the U.S., too. 
> .............................................................
> Ellen M. Wijsman
> Div. of Medical Genetics, RG-25
> and Dept. of Biostatistics
> University of Washington
> Seattle, WA   98195
> wijsman at u.washington.edu

As a postdoctoral scientist, I can still remember what infuriated me MOST
 in school: it was the sense that everyone was surprised that I could be one 
of the best in the class in math and science.  The expectation that I could be 
tops just wasnt there.  Moreover, the others in the class were intimidated and 
put off by my ability.  The boys especially disliked 
"being beaten by a girl".  Fortunately, I had brothers, so I wasnt put off by 
competing with boys, and I'm naturally perverse, so I took pride in being 
different.  I regret to say that I did on some occasions run into 
that same attitude  (expressed far more subtly) in both 
university and graduate school. 

I have absolutely no patience with judgements made on the basis of sex,  and
 I think at early stages it is very important that every student is 
aware of the expectation of excellence.  This requires a cultural shift as 
much as anything else, though!  

Oh yes, and despite the address, I'm a Yank, so the experiences I describe 
were all in the American system.


SL Forsburg			forsburg at molbiol.ox.ac.uk
ICRF Cell Cycle Group
Biochemistry Dept
Oxford University

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