Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day an attempt to make people (women in particular) aware of female roles models in technology, bloggers are asked to write about example role models.

Having come from an engineering background there is certainly a distinct lack of female roles models full stop. It appears that the research shows that women are inspired by female role models, note that men are not as inspired by either male or female role models:
Afterwards female students who’d read an account of a female professional rated themselves more positively than the female students who read about a man, and more positively than control students who hadn’t read any account. By contrast, male students who read about a male role model did not rate themselves any more positively than male students who read about a female role model, or than control students who hadn’t read any account. 
Reading the abstract of the research causes me one concern - the phrase:
women face negative stereotypes regarding their competence in the workplace, they may derive particular benefit from the example of an outstanding woman who illustrates the possibility of overcoming gender barriers to achieve success
I'm not clear how this statement is not just opinion, I can agree with the finding that female role models inspire women, but the "why" is difficult. There are many reasons that this inspiration may occur and I distrust the easy answer proposed. For example you could using the same findings speculate that women are better at visualising their own success by seeing other women succeed. Research like this is always good to see, but I wish it was clearer what was a finding and what was speculation.

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