Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why?
Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:01 PM
slanted to Male dominated?
My reasoning is, every single time I have shown a Lady
some of the beautiful objects God has graced us with,
they have always gasped in awe, especially Saturn! I have been told by many Ladies it looks like a jewel.
There was one young Lady in the Des Moines club, she used a Dynamax 6, 9it had VG optics) and was a great member,
prooving you don't have to have a 200 lb. rig to be happy.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:12 PM
Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:26 PM
Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:29 PM
There are also startlingly few African-Americans in the hooby.
It's probably mostly historical. Amateur astronomy started out almost exclusively male; for instance, the Springfield Telescope Makers were machinists, and there weren't many -- if any -- female machinists.
Then it tends to get passed down father to son or buddy to buddy. And at mostly male gatherings, men tend to feel more welcome than women.
My niece just did a thesis on women in science. There happen to be lots of major female professional astronomers -- still a minority, but a much bigger minority than (say) female physicists or mathematicians.
She said that women that she interviewed cited role models such as Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin or (earlier) Annie Canon and Henrietta Leavitt. Women are much more prevalent in chemistry and biology, perhaps because they had a relatively easy entree as lab assistants -- think Madame Curie.
Building a community takes time -- which is no excuse for inaction. And if not now, then when?
Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:48 PM
I think the Scope mfgrs are missing a HUGE revenue opportunity here. Why not a scope painted and designed to be Lady friendly? they are 50% of the population! I have never seen an ad that leanes toward the Female gender!
Perhaps it is a single person dominated hoby, and being out at night probably has something to do with it.
How about a pepper spray, tazer, 911 equiped C8? Pink with Flowers painted on it..
Posted 14 January 2013 - 03:49 PM
Posted 14 January 2013 - 04:41 PM
Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:12 PM
A second factor may be that astronomy is an outdoor, often out in the country, pursuit, and things done outdoors have traditionally been more male oriented.
To some extent, especially hunting and fishing.
But for what it's worth, when I go hiking in New Hampshire's White Mountains, I'd say that the people I meet are just about 50%-50% male and female -- in summer anyway. There's definitely a preponderance of men in the winter, especially above treeline where conditions can get pretty severe.
Which raises the possibility of a physiological difference. Astronomy is done mostly in conditions that range from cool to cold to very cold, and it requires the use of your hands. Poor circulation, in particular Reynaud's Syndrome, is known to be much more prevalent in women than in men. I don't think it's a major factor, but it might be a small one.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:27 PM
Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:30 PM
Now, I don't know much about women (and my wife'll probably support that assertion). But from my limited experience, nearly all the women I know well enough to know these things about run a lot colder than most men I know.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:30 PM
Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:45 PM
I'm surprised no one mentioned that men are hunters and women are gatherers. If searching for faint fuzzys isn't hunting, I don't know what is.
I grew up hunting and fishing, now I hunt wildlife with my binoculars and hunt down faint fuzzies.
And as John said previously, most women are too wise to take up a hobby that involves staying up late with a cold wind blowing just so one can capture a glimpse of an elusive blurr with a name, something seen much better in a photo.
My wife looks through the eyepiece for a few minutes and goes inside. She has Sky Safari Plus on her cell phone so she can find out detailed information about the Astronomy Picture of the Day.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:52 PM
Why not a scope painted and designed to be Lady friendly?
Now what would you consider for a scope to be "Lady friendly"? Guess I'd better give up my 16" because it's not pink.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:25 PM
I get to carry both.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:32 PM
Of course on the other side of the coin. I was often the only male in my Yoga class for a few years. Most guys I know wouldn't go for one class.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:43 PM
Posted 14 January 2013 - 08:44 PM
Men and women are wired differently, plain and simple. Sometimes the two meet on the same field, but it's often not for the same reason(s).
Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:05 PM
Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:15 PM
Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:23 PM
Staying up late
Possible alone or in a very small group
Noises in the woods
Setting up equipment
Taking down equipment
There's not one thing there my wife would want to have anything whatsoever to do with.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:54 PM
Interesting subject. Back in the old sci.astro.amateur group, one German born Iranian fellow pointed out that in Iran, the majority of amateur astronomers are women. Hard to say why in western society, the hobby is so heavily male.
So is this also because Iranian women are wired differently from men?
Another difference in the demographic is that countries other than the U.S. seem to have more young people that are active in astronomy. Check out the large group photo from a representative IOTA gathering in Tehran.
Tehran IOTA workshop
Other than heavy lifting of large scopes and mounts, it seems to me like there's no reason that woman cannot participate in the hobby to the same extent as men. Often, it's the "good old boys club" mentality of the hobby that puts them off.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 09:59 PM
And it's a science thing as well. Science isn't as attractive to the ladies as it is to the guys. Just a fact of the way our hobby is oriented.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 10:30 PM