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A Philosophical Perspective

August 9, 2009
tags: ,

Man, I really suck at coming up with titles.

Anyway, I started reading Feminism Confronts Technology by Judy Wajcman on Google Books. This particular quote struck me as relevant:

However these authors mainly pose the solution in terms of getting more women to enter science – seeing the issue as one of access to education and employment. Rather than questioning science itself, such studies assume that science is a noble profession and a worthy pursuit and that if girls were given the right opportunities and encouragement they would gladly become scientists in proportion to their numbers in the population. It follows that remedying the current deficiency is seen as a problem which a combination of different socialization processes and equal opportunity policies would overcome.

This approach, as Sandra Harding (1986) and others have pointed out, locates the problem in women (their socialization, their aspirations and values) and does not ask the broader questions of whether and in what way science and its institutions could be reshaped to accomodate women. The equal opportunity recommendations, moreover, ask women to exchange major aspects of their gender identity for a masculine version without perscribing a similiar ‘degendering’ process for men. For example, the current career structure for a professional scientist dictates long unbroken periods of intensive study and research which simply do not allow for childcare and domestic responsibilities. In order to succeed women have to model themselves on men who have traditionally avoided such commitments.

The book goes on to make some more points, but I wanted to at least give you a taste of it. I think I’m going to like this book. đŸ™‚

3 Comments leave one →
  1. August 9, 2009 20:26

    Immediate reaction after not having clicked any links: long unbroken periods of intensive study and research don’t allow for childcare and domestic responsibilities for men, either. But I guess the idea that men might be responsible for childcare/domestic responsibilities instead of just women is itself an important feminist concept that hasn’t yet been fully realized in science.

    • radengineer permalink*
      August 9, 2009 23:54

      Exactly – that’s what the author went on to say.

  2. October 20, 2009 13:44


    Thank you for the great quality of your blog, each time i come here, i’m amazed.

    black hattitude.

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