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  #46   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 08-24-2017, 01:59 PM
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Re: Targeted Recruiting for Girls

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Originally Posted by FRCForever View Post
For 3 of my years in FRC as a student, my team didnt push girls to join FRC, purely because there was no interest from any; be it through school assemblies, when we showed off the robots, or through email/text.

FIRST has clearly made it obvious that encouraging females to get into STEAM is an approved practice, but I believe that if someone is forced into a field that they dont have much interest in, they will never be happy doing it as a real job.
From what I have seen in the responses so far, most people talk as if all girls want to work in STEAM related fields, and they only need motivation & encouragement to do so. The problem with this is, not all girls want to do STEAM as a job, and you shouldnt fall back to blaming male-dominance for that. This field is not for everyone.



Note: my apostrophe key is broken at the moment, so please excuse that.
How do you go from "encourage" to "forced"? At what student population size do you start to think that the lack of interest may have to do with the team itself, and not the subject matter? On one extreme, if there are only 10 girls in the entire school, ok, maybe none of them are interested. But if there are 100? 1000?

This discussion isn't about forcing anyone to join a team or follow a specific career path. It's about the best ways to interest people and then support them in the team's environment.
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Unread 08-24-2017, 02:14 PM
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Re: Targeted Recruiting for Girls

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Originally Posted by FRCForever View Post
For 3 of my years in FRC as a student, my team didnt push girls to join FRC, purely because there was no interest from any; be it through school assemblies, when we showed off the robots, or through email/text.

FIRST has clearly made it obvious that encouraging females to get into STEAM is an approved practice, but I believe that if someone is forced into a field that they dont have much interest in, they will never be happy doing it as a real job.
From what I have seen in the responses so far, most people talk as if all girls want to work in STEAM related fields, and they only need motivation & encouragement to do so. The problem with this is, not all girls want to do STEAM as a job, and you shouldnt fall back to blaming male-dominance for that. This field is not for everyone.



Note: my apostrophe key is broken at the moment, so please excuse that.
wow, it took way more posts than I thought for some dude to come in and chime "trying to correct for systemic misogyny is actually Bad because Nobody Should Ever Try".

FIRST and FRC aren't programs that are supposed to be aiming for people that already want to go into STEM. The point of the program is to expose people to these fields when they may not otherwise have had an interest in them, and cultivate any passion that forms out of that experience as a result of it. This isn't controversial, this is a stated goal of the program.

If you reject recruitment ideas because you think a team shouldn't be welcoming to people that don't already like STEM, you're in it for the wrong reasons.
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Unread 08-24-2017, 02:18 PM
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Re: Targeted Recruiting for Girls

Quote:
Originally Posted by FRCForever View Post
For 3 of my years in FRC as a student, my team didnt push girls to join FRC, purely because there was no interest from any; be it through school assemblies, when we showed off the robots, or through email/text.

FIRST has clearly made it obvious that encouraging females to get into STEAM is an approved practice, but I believe that if someone is forced into a field that they dont have much interest in, they will never be happy doing it as a real job.
From what I have seen in the responses so far, most people talk as if all girls want to work in STEAM related fields, and they only need motivation & encouragement to do so. The problem with this is, not all girls want to do STEAM as a job, and you shouldnt fall back to blaming male-dominance for that. This field is not for everyone.



Note: my apostrophe key is broken at the moment, so please excuse that.
You seem young so I will be kind. It isn't about forcing someone into something they aren't interested in. It is about encouraging people to explore different interests. High school (in the US) is a time for students to explore different things and discover what they like to do. Once you go to college, it is hard to explore new areas because you are already on a career path. Girls tend to be discouraged (often unintentionally) from engaging in STEM activities. There are other field that are the same for boys. For example, I come from elementary education where there are almost no men, because they are discouraged from joining early childhood teaching careers. A lot of women, myself included, didn't get involved with STEM as kids because we felt like we wouldn't fit in there. I know I looked at the robotics team at my school that way. I didn't want to hang out with a bunch of boys that were nothing like me, but I realized as an adult that I was interested in technology and actually changed careers. I wish I had been able to discover that interest in high school instead of having to go back to school and start a new career as an adult.

Also, I know you didn't mean it this way, but the A in STEAM does stand for arts, so technically almost everyone is drawn to something under the umbrella of STEAM.
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Unread 08-24-2017, 02:22 PM
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Re: Targeted Recruiting for Girls

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Originally Posted by Brian Michell View Post
I have to disagree with this point. I personally have had experiences that have been unsavory and have left a negative impression, making me more pessimistic about things. The saying "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." comes to mind at first when I approach situations like this. It takes a lot at times to look beyond my own negative experience.
I have to disagree with you as well. I couldn't do the sound system at my church as a kid because the guy in charge always picked the boys. I don't think that entitles me to feeling like that shouldn't encourage boys to learn to run a sound board.
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Unread 08-24-2017, 02:22 PM
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Re: Targeted Recruiting for Girls

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Originally Posted by Basoonist View Post
I think you must be careful with this kind of message. A few experiences where a student has felt like they were not treated fairly is not an excuse for being hesitant to include girls. It is an excuse which is commonly used which often leads to girls not being included. Keep in mind that for every slightly unfair think that happens to a boy, a girl is likely to have had the same thing happen to them multiple times (at least in STEM fields).
I did not say it was an excuse. Do not construe my words as such. This isn't about men vs women, anyone can be belittled. I just suggested a reason for hesitance and how you might address that reason.

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Originally Posted by Amanda Morrison View Post
I want to be very careful with the above piece of rhetoric. It is not that it is unreasonable behavior. It is extremely normal for males and females to treat each other as equals from early ages. It is societal pressures and examples that show them otherwise, and from these examples young men may form unconscious biases that lead them to believe that women are incapable, uninterested, or otherwise inappropriate for certain tasks or problems.*

I don't want to perpetuate the notion that young men are somehow unformed or unable to grasp this. I don't want to nitpick your words, but I've worked with a number of amazing peers, or mentored younger men, who are aware of these biases and work to counter them while including their female peers. I don't want to diminish that behavior or write that off as uncommon, when it isn't. If I'm treated differently, I don't assume unfair things about the person who treats me that way** - but I do call out their bad behavior in hopes that they will recognize it and minimize it in the future. There are many FIRSTers who could chime in to this thread with an example of me calling them out, I'm sure. But I strive to challenge their thinking, and help them to recognize bias that they may be unaware exists otherwise.

The gist is this: Underdeveloped is not the same as undereducated. We need to be careful with this. These students may be ignorant or unconscious of these biases, but not incapable of correcting them. Educating why this is important, introducing important data and using examples that are relevant to these students, and introducing the concept of how the team's equitable behavior leads to success for all - that's a burden that we as mentors, male or female, share. The more we champion and guide good behavior, and correct and explain bad behavior, the easier these lessons might be for young men and women under our mentorship.

Your post was helpful to read, since I enjoy the perspective of others and appreciated your personal experience.




*This actually goes both ways and I don't mean to ignore that. Young women hold unconscious biases about young men in the same way. There are many studies about unconscious gender bias that are absolutely fascinating, especially those that form in early childhood, and I encourage poking around the internet for some interesting reading.

**It's taken a long time to come to this point. It's much easier to write off someone for their opinions than to understand why they hold those opinions in the first place. With age comes wisdom, but not always patience.
I bolded your most significant point, and it's exactly parallel to the point I made in my last post. Consider that teenage boys and girls treat each other as equals, but each is largely unaware of the societal pressures placed on the other. From the boy's perspective he sees a peer who is capable and talented but pursues other interests. It would be very easy to conclude that this peer is simply passionate about non-STEM things and has no desire to pursue STEM-related activities. They're young enough that they haven't seen the fruition of these pressures. They also have a totally different brain setup compared to adults which changes how they interpret their observations, so they might not see how things are affecting their female peers. This has everything to do with the adolescent brain still building neural pathways that allow them to process this sort of complex information. I was a teenage boy at one point, and I can still remember how some of my thought processes worked (or didn't).

[Tangent]
It can be hard to approach these sorts of topics without applying the filters of our own experiences. Of course there are great young men who recognize and support their female peers as one wishes they might. Of course there are strong young women who will succeed no matter what barriers are in their way. But if these types of people were the generality instead of the exception we wouldn't be having this conversation. When approaching a problem as systematic as societal pressure we need to cover all of our bases and help each other understand our different points of view and recognize that we may need to educate each other about those perspectives. Misunderstandings must be healed before progress can truly be made. I become irrationally upset when I hear things like "men/women will never understand X because they're not a man/woman" because THAT is the conversation we need to have with each other if we're going to move forward, and we can't have that conversation in an adversarial way.
[/Tangent]

I'm glad you enjoyed my post, this is a good discussion to have as it impacts all of us and how we interact with our world. I hope my tangent doesn't derail the thread... I know this can be a sensitive subject, and it's one I feel strongly about.
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Unread 08-24-2017, 04:20 PM
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Re: Targeted Recruiting for Girls

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Originally Posted by Basoonist View Post
I have to disagree with you as well. I couldn't do the sound system at my church as a kid because the guy in charge always picked the boys. I don't think that entitles me to feeling like that shouldn't encourage boys to learn to run a sound board.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a scar in this context as "a lasting moral or emotional injury."

When dealing with emotion, logic sometimes goes by the wayside. While you may not be entitled to feel like that shouldn't encourage boys to learn to run a sound board you may still feel that way subconsciously. However, this is all purely hypothetical and splitting hairs.
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Unread 08-24-2017, 04:42 PM
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Re: Targeted Recruiting for Girls

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Originally Posted by FRCForever View Post
FIRST has clearly made it obvious that encouraging females to get into STEAM is an approved practice, but I believe that if someone is forced into a field that they dont have much interest in, they will never be happy doing it as a real job.
Here's the thing; it's not about forcing people into a field they don't have much interest in. Instead, it's making sure the girls of your school know that the doors are open to them. A lot of the time, they've been taught - both implicitly and explicitly - that STEM isn't even an option.

As usual, this is not my experience; take my opinion for what it is: an opinion of someone who is not in the group directly affected.
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