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some kid in my class wrote an essay about how it never explicitly says Beowulf isn’t a robot
This week, India became the first Asian nation to reach Mars when its orbiter entered the planet’s orbit on Wednesday — and this is the picture that was seen around the world to mark this historic event. It shows a group of female scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) congratulating one another on the mission’s success.
The picture was widely shared on Twitter where Egyptian journalist and women’s rights activist Mona El-Tahawy tweeted: “Love this pic so much. When was the last time u saw women scientists celebrate space mission?”
In most mission room photos of historic space events or in films about space, women are rarely seen, making this photo both compelling and unique. Of course, ISRO, like many technical agencies, has far to go in terms of achieving gender balance in their workforce. As Rhitu Chatterjee of PRI’s The World observed in an op-ed, only 10 percent of ISRO’s engineers are female.
This fact, however, Chatterjee writes, is “why this new photograph of ISRO’s women scientists is invaluable. It shatters stereotypes about space research and Indian women. It forces society to acknowledge and appreciate the accomplishments of female scientists. And for little girls and young women seeing the picture, I hope it will broaden their horizons, giving them more options for what they can pursue and achieve.”
To read Chatterjee’s op-ed on The World, visit http://bit.ly/1u3fvGZ
Photo credit: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images
Teachers are often unaware of the gender distribution of talk in their classrooms. They usually consider that they give equal amounts of attention to girls and boys, and it is only when they make a tape recording that they realize that boys are dominating the interactions. Dale Spender, an Australian feminist who has been a strong advocate of female rights in this area, noted that teachers who tried to restore the balance by deliberately ‘favouring’ the girls were astounded to find that despite their efforts they continued to devote more time to the boys in their classrooms. Another study reported that a male science teacher who managed to create an atmosphere in which girls and boys contributed more equally to discussion felt that he was devoting 90 per cent of his attention to the girls. And so did his male pupils. They complained vociferously that the girls were getting too much talking time.
In other public contexts, too, such as seminars and debates, when women and men are deliberately given an equal amount of the highly valued talking time, there is often a perception that they are getting more than their fair share. Dale Spender explains this as follows:
“The talkativeness of women has been gauged in comparison not with men but with silence. Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.”
In other words, if women talk at all, this may be perceived as ‘too much’ by men who expect them to provide a silent, decorative background in many social contexts.