Thursday, January 22, 2009

Geek Chic Boogie

Everyone at CERN seemed to be glued to the footage of the Obama inauguration on Tuesday. It was covered fully on French TV, and I personally streamed it live from my laptop in my office. It seems like everyone is putting their own spin on how the Obama administration will affect them, so of course I had to point you all to an article in the NY Times science section called "In ‘Geek Chic’ and Obama, New Hope for Lifting Women in Science". How cool is that?! The article makes some interesting points:
In a new survey of 19,000 doctoral students at the University of California, Dr. Mason and her colleagues found that while two-thirds of the respondents either had or planned to have children, 84 percent of the women and 74 percent of the men expressed worry about the family-unfriendliness of their intended profession, and many had changed their plans accordingly.
It makes me wonder why scientists do this to themselves. If most men and women worry about the family-unfriendliness of scientific careers, why don't we do something to change it? People assume that this is a women's issue, but I would argue that in the modern family, it's a men's issue too. It seems to me that by improving the situation, we would not only attract more women to scientific careers, but also help retain men and make everyone happier. So I was pleased to read this part as well:
Dr. Mason and other legal experts suggest that President Obama might be able to change things significantly for young women in science — and young men — by signing an executive order that would provide added family leave and parental benefits to the recipients of federal grants, a huge pool of people that includes many research scientists.
The rest of the article talks about the importance of making 'Geek Chic', and I'm all for it! In a recent Google blog post about involving young girls in a robotics competition, a girl named Tal said that she originally thought technology was "just for geeks", but given the chance to tinker around, she got hooked. So thanks to Tal for doing her part to make geek chic. Between Tal and a scientist blogger named Dr. Isis who continually posts pictures of fabulous shoes, I'm convinced that Geek Chic will be the new trend :)

So put on your dancing shoes and get your boogie on (Nick, this one's for you!):

A bientôt!

1 comment:

Alison said...

Very cool, Dr. Skippy.