Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

15 October 2009

It's been a busy month for science grrls!

Originally posted at Girl w/Pen

It seems like every other story in the past month had a science grrl at its core. Some were good, some not so much. I honestly couldn’t make up my mind on which story to write about, so I’ll write a little about all of them:

  • Elinor Ostrom is the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. The best part of her story? That her high school advisor told her that she couldn’t take trigonometry because she was a girl. It’s been quite some time, but if that advisor is still alive, I hope they give her a call to apologize. Otherwise, girls take note. My high school advisor was horrible my freshman year, so I switched. If you don’t feel supported, find someone else to talk to!
  • Ostrom topped off what has been a banner year of women winning the Nobel. We had the first time two women won a Nobel together (in medicine). The advisor-former graduate student pairing makes my heart a flutter. Now that’s Sisterhood NOT Interrupted! In addition, Ada Yonath won in Chemistry.
  • The motive for the murder of Annie Le is still to be revealed, but for me it doesn’t take much to see this crime as a possible crime against women in science. While I was still pondering the role that gender in the lab played in the crime, another woman was attacked in a lab. Sadly women in science history holds one huge dark chapter: In 1989 a man massacred 14 women as he “fought feminism” in Canada.
  • In animation land, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is telling young girls to not dumb themselves down and embrace their geekdom. My husband took our six-year-old daughter to see this movie while I was out of town over the weekend. She’s certainly not dumbing herself down…yet…but my money is on the fact that she’ll remember that the main character’s dad dies rather than she should be herself.
  • Considering the high participation of women in environmental science and public health, we could see more women winning Nobels if some new awards are added in the future.
  • And while she does fall under science FICTION, I think that Octavia Butler deserves to close out this post. Her novels paint a bleak picture for our future, but the way to avoid most of it are also laid out in her novels. She uses science to craft her stories, even in her last unfinished story arc on vampires science is a huge character. And now the Huntington Library is where her papers will be stored (PDF link). I eagerly await a biography on this genius who was taken from us way too soon.


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