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Lena Ting ting at roses
Mon Mar 11 20:04:48 EST 1996

a-schmi at ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (aloisia schmid) writes:

:          So i guess that is what I am asking.  What exactly are the
: responsibilities of women engaged in science in improving the status of
: Woemn
: Engaged in Science?  Are we required to work to improve things?  Do we
: abrogate our duty in choosing not to?  Have we come far enough now to have
: that luxury?
:                           I am surprised at how much this really bothers
: me, and am wondering what others are thinking.

I think this is a question that everyone needs to answer for herself.
Or himself.  I think it applies to a lot of different things in our
lives, and you have to choose which causes are important to you, and
how much extra energy you are willing to give that cause (like
recycling, and keeping the air clean, etc..).  It's a fine balance
between feeling like you're doing something worthwhile, and feeling
like you are fighting for something in vain that is perhaps damaging
to your metal or physical health.

There are lots of causes.  I've had to choose how I felt about
confronting injustices to women in science, to women in sports, women
in life, homosexuals in science, sports, and life.  If you're going to
be participating in these activities, I think you have to create an
environment in which you can work, and also improve the situation for
others at a level you feel comfortable with.  While I am not an
activist in women's rights or gay rights, I feel I do, in my own way,
improve the situation for others by just being here.  I am out to most
people and I have seen how this educates others as well as helps
younger people with a similar situation feel more comfortable.  But I
don't participate in public speaking in dorms or other such
activities.  I just can't give the time right now.  And I can't spend
my time feeling bad about not doing as much as some other people I
know toward making life more equitable for women and gays.

I remember as an undergrad, I was very active in the Society for Women
Engineers.  We had a very large, active group.  Since there were only
2 faculty members in the College of Engineering who were female, they
were asked to attend and speak at all sorts of events.  They were both
very good at it too.  But it got to the point, where they had to
refuse most of our requests, becuase being the token females, they
were asked to do way more than others, such as speaking and being on
certain committees.  They just didin't have the time or energy do
everything.  I think that just by being there, and speaking
occasionally, they were doing great things for the future of women in
engineering.  There is just a level at which you have to say "enough!"
and get on with the science.

I also don't have a problem with people not doing things becuase it's
too much of a hassle.  Though I don't really think it's THAT bad for
women in science.  I remember wanting to be a pilot, but the only
affordable way to do it was to join the Air Force.  Now that was too
much of a hassle for me, I didn't want to fly enough to enter the
armed services.  There were other options that also make me happy.

Anyway, all I am trying to say is contribute as much as you can.  If
you feel you aren't doing enough, do more.  If it starts to be weary
or interferes with your ability to do science or LIKE science or to be
happy, then you should do less, and not feel bad about it, because
just by doing science, you are helping.

Ok, that's all.


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