February 27, 2016

Pretty awkward.

In New York Magazine, "Awkward: Boy Wins Competition for Girls in Tech":
The EDF Energy company in the U.K. launched a campaign called #PrettyCurious to encourage young women, ages 11 to 16, to go into the field of science... [T]he contest asked children "to think of ideas for a connected home bedroom product." Citing "fairness" as a reason, the energy company later opened up the competition to all kids of all genders, but maintained that the competition was still targeted at girls.....

Ada Lovelace Day founder Suw Charman-Anderson told the BBC that she was suspicious of the competition from the beginning because "EDF Energy chose to link appearance and interest in STEM through the title of their campaign, despite many people pointing out that it was demeaning to girls."
So they used the word "pretty," they centered the activity on the "home bedroom," and then, because they'd gone too far and got criticized, they let the boys in, and a boy won, and, of course, they got criticized for that.

20 comments:

Bob Boyd said...

EDF Energy has issued the following statement:

"You know what? Fuck it."

David said...

That's why they call it a minefield. Even more dangerous if you are stumbling around.

Christopher said...

kids of all genders

Oh for crying out loud.

Terry said...

I think Althouse's post would have been more true to life if she had ended it this way:
" . . . and a boy won, of course, and they got criticized for that."
Boys are better at that kind of stuff than girls. If you have a thousand entrants, half boys and half girls, the top three winners will be boys. Unless you cheat.

CarlF said...

Could we just ask the winner to self-identify as a girl for the award ceremony?

David said...

Where is Angela Merkel when they really need her? She won a bunch of science competitions growing up in East Germany.

ironrailsironweights said...

The word "pretty" in the contest's title does not necessarily have anything to do with female physical beauty. It could just as well be a gender-neutral intensifier in the sense of "really curious."

Peter

AReasonableMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anglelyne said...

Terry: I think Althouse's post would have been more true to life if she had ended it this way:
" . . . and a boy won, of course, and they got criticized for that."


Ha, that is how I read that sentence. Then I thought, "Interesting that AA would say that", so I went back and re-read it.

Limited blogger said...

In high school I won the 'Betty Crocker Homemaker of Tomorrow' award. It was given to the highest scorer on a standardized test sponsored by the Betty Crocker brand. I took the test because it got me out of my math class one day during the spring. I always scored very high on standardized tests, PSAT, SAT, ACT, etc. I remember one of the questions was something like: "What is the best color to paint a kitchen with an Easterly facing?" 1. Blue, 2. Yellow, 3. Beige, 4. none of the above

I got a $50 scholarship and a pin.

Xmas said...

Terry,

I'd have to disagree with you. I'd day 2 out of 3 of the top contenders would be girls. Science fair projects are about organization and presentation and science. You'd have a small percentage of girls who actually enjoy the science challenge and they would outshine most of the boys on presentation. Out of the 499 boys that didn't win, maybe 50 would be discouraged from pursuing science further by losing. Out of the 498 girls, 450.

Fernandinande said...

Christopher said...
'kids of all genders'
Oh for crying out loud.


Yeah.

Here's a shocker - the NYT has an "interactive" article about how white people are cool!

Terry said...

From the article:
" . . . the public chose Joshua's video-game controller over Maegan's smart fridge system, "which helps you minimise your food waste," and Anna's sleep-monitoring device."
By any objective measure, a video game controller is more sciencey than monitoring your sleep or a "smart fridge system."

JaimeRoberto said...

Maybe Larry Summers was right.

n.n said...

It may be oriented to recognizing female talent, but there is no natural or objective measure to justify that bias. Today, not even a natural or object standard can be used to justify a gender bias. They... We are unmoored and caught in a leftist undertow that threatens to sink our civilization.

buwaya puti said...

From what I have seen - the universal practice in schools of engineering is to weed out the class in the first couple of years through math exams, and the more complex math oriented subjects - thermodynamics for instance. The survivors are tough - not just the capable but the highly motivated. Not all of the practical talents have exceptional math abilities, but the survivors have persisted through force of personality.
Those who drop out change majors, often to business-accounting. Anyway, I have seen girls by the hundreds enter engineering classes, and they are disproportionately weeded out by the process.
Girls most certainly are better at process and organization, the post above above re science fairs is completely correct, they win at a high rate - our daughter was a consistent winner and several times reached the city finals. But she had no interest in science or engineering, in spite of encouragement. That's true of nearly all of her contemporaries.
Engineering at its core is not about the process of getting the answer, but of getting the answer.
I have seen, also, many women in engineering that ended up in project management, not at the coalface. Many men too of course, but disproportionately women.
For what it's worth.

Paul Snively said...

JaimeRoberto: Maybe Larry Summers was right.

Nuts, beat me to it.

As a reminder, here's what Dr. Summers actually said:

"“There is relatively clear evidence that whatever the difference in means—which can be debated—there is a difference in the standard deviation and variability of a male and female population.”

That's a very straightforward, falsifiable claim in statistics. Anyone who wants to can ask for the data; ask how the mean, standard deviation, and variance were computed; and check the results. Not once did I hear about anyone doing that. I did read about at least one female professor who said, irony-free, that she had to leave because she couldn't breathe and might pass out, which used to be called "fainting."

Scott Gustafson said...

buwaya - Having gone through engineering school, I agree. My experience in business is that if you want a result get a man. If you want a process followed, get a woman.

Individuals vary of course, but on average that's the way to bet.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

That was funny, Bob Boyd, thanks.

Char Char Binks said...

Good for Awkward Boy!