Tag Archives: Gender equality

How Modern Family is Saving Social Morals from Themselves

and other funny stories.

We hosted a dinner party for three women and three men. Two of the women are in a long-term relationship. One of the men is in a long-term relationship with one of the women. That leaves two men unaccounted for.

Our two male guests happened to be wearing the same shirt.


“Time to play: Who wore it best?”

Continue reading


Equality in Engineering

Right down to the chants

People are under the impression that engineering must have been hard for me, being one of few women.

The chants, for example, are notoriously “inappropriate” – the most famous and widely shared being a song about Lady Godiva. (See a fuller, albeit tailored version, by MIT)

But we women were given equal opportunity to be just as rude as the men. We wrote our own chants and they were just as inappropriate and just as funny… for everyone… regardless of gender… and no one celebrated rape.

The UBC Sauder School of Business is reeling from recent revelations about Frosh being taught chants celebrating underaged rape.

Naturally, the university has separated itself from the student chants and suggesting the business school teaches rape is absurd. BUT, before dismissing this as an isolated incident, the school needs to consider the possibility of an underlying divide between “suits” and “skirts”.

The culture of engineering is often assumed to suffer gender division. I made that mistake when I first went to work. I fell into the trap of dressing like my male colleagues, thinking being “one of the guys” was the only way for me to fit in.

I imposed that gender division on myself.

In the end, I finally realised there is no outfit that a rugged pair of coveralls can’t neutralize! I could wear a skirt if I wanted to and still visit sites, climb ladders, and harness myself to scaffolding. I was just like any man who wanted to protect his  3-piece suit, while out in the field.

Reforming the way we view and treat gender does not need to sterilize our differences. I like wearing skirts. I know how to do my work regardless of my attire, just like Swedish train drivers.

They donned skirts to beat the summer heat in protest to their employer’s ban of shorts.

They can do their work better when they are comfortable, and that was worth fighting for. (We have quite a way to go in accepting gender as a continuum rather than binary categories-the shorts ban was quickly lifted.)

In Engineering at McMaster University, I was treated as an engineering student. Nothing else. When I went to work, I had to relearn that. My colleagues didn’t parse me out as a female engineer. They let me decide how to define myself, and they accepted me for my work, not for my anatomy.

I’m not much of a “rah-rah engineering” graduate, but…

Gimme an “E”! Gimme an “N”! …


Live within limits without limiting life

Follow me and check out my food blog: Meat Eating Vegans!


Shift the gender paradigm in engineering

Studying for my second-year psych exam and I’m forced to read yet another article on gender differences. This one was slightly more balanced, as the authors considered social influences alongside neuropsychological evidence and the effects of hormones, but as I sit here, a licensed female engineer retraining for a new career, I think they missed the mark.

Continue reading


Gendering

So here’s the thing, sometimes girls just want to do girlie things, as some studies on newborn monkeys are starting to illustrate. I was a child of the 70s, and went to elementary school in 80s, when feminism transitioned from theory to practice.

Feminism at that time focussed on opening opportunity for women. “Anything boys can do, girls can do better!” was the triumphant call to all little girls. The fervor of the campaign was fierce. So fierce, that they not only forgot about choice and equality, but they railroaded them. Continue reading

“SAY NO TO SLUTWALK!” she screamed.

Sexual equality symbol

Image via Wikipedia

I’m in the middle of a debate on Facebook that began with a friend screaming SAY NO TO SLUTWALK!  I had read about the SlutWalk campaign, but it didn’t sit right with me.  So, I let it disappear, along with all of the other headlines I read, but forget in the midst of rushing kids to school, pressing toward deadlines, and just trying to breath.  Her recent sentiment has brought it back to my attention, and now I’m ready to talk. Continue reading


%d bloggers like this: