Monday, February 26, 2007

Something of a Worthy Goal.

Today I got a pep talk about staying in academia to help improve the state of academia for women.

Some days it really is the only thing keeping me going.

This pep-talking friend was leading by example, giving me advice to surround myself with women who are farther up, and farther out, of my immediate circles.

This was new advice, or at least, it sounds different from the vague command I've gotten before:
"Get a mentor!"

She said there are some women out there who, like me, want to help bring others up behind them.

And more importantly, she knows some and wants to introduce me.

Hooray! A minor victory. Amazing how sometimes meeting just one person can make such a huge difference.

And another minor revelation.
Obviously I knew these women must, statistically speaking, exist.
And that some might even be on my campus. Somewhere. I just never met any at my university before.

But I know you're out there. I've e-met some of you, however anonymously, through blogging.

And then I realized that, while knowing intellectually that this is true, and while I have benefited from it at a distance, this is another place where my faith has been lacking.

Why the lack of faith in my fellow chicas? My big attempt at having a female advisor totally backfired. I'm still mucking through the emotional damage she caused. Today I was reading about aggressive personality types, and guess what? Now that I can name all the tactics she used, I can say with confidence that she is way up there on the aggressive end of the manipulative scale.

I think this is why I assumed, perhaps subconsciously, that the women in my field wouldn't help me. Or worse, would actively try to discourage me.

That one was awful, went the logic, so why would any of the others be different?

But as anyone who has been discriminated against knows, that's not fair at all!

I was over-extrapolating.

I have been guilty of assuming that women in other fields wouldn't want to be bothered or couldn't help.

But I'm not giving us enough credit. We're smart, we can see parallels and patterns, and abstract away the differences in the details, and apply what we know to different areas.

And we know people who know people.

So, a Worthy Goal and a minor revelation or two. Not bad, even if I didn't do any experiments all day.

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At 7:25 PM, Blogger Ulysses said...

I know there is a volunteer organization in Northern Virginia that connects women in technical fields with a mentor. My mom mentors through them. Back at you when I get the contact info from her.

At 12:11 PM, Blogger Ulysses said...

Mom says:
It's the Women In Technology Mentor-Protege Program. I don't have a mailing address; we do everything by email. But you can find out about the program on the WIT website: If someone is interested in this, they have to join WIT to participate.
Good Luck with it


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