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Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why?

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#151 tecmage

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:22 PM

"This discussion has made me wonder something, though - have any of you Gents asked your non-astronomy male friends why they're not interested?"

I'm certain the day they come out with a scope painted like a can of Budweiser, scope sales will skyrocket (pun intended).


Three of my co-workers were interested in Astronomy, but two of them didn't know anyone in the group had a telescope. I asked one of the guys to pick up a used scope I bought, and he has been hooked since then. He borrowed one of my classic scopes just after Christmas. :jump: One of the other guys bought his own scope. The third one is interested in AP.
 

#152 faackanders2

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:43 PM

:help:Science and Engineering is predominently male. Since Astronomy is science its' predominently male.

However, when they are kids (pre teens) girls and boys appear to be equally interested. As both turn teens astronomy interest drops off more for girls than boys (boys may feel there is a career potential, whereas girls don't).

All my girls lost interest when they became teens. Some regained interest only when their boyfriend showed interest, and one convinced their boyfriend that it was not cool.

With work and home chores, most women don't have time for hobbies; whereas men take time for their hobbies. Moms often give their all to their kids, and sacrifice all their free time.

I can't even get my wife or kids to look through my telescope anymore, but she tolerates me doing my hobby (but not necessarily me spending money for my hobby).
 

#153 csrlice12

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 08:19 AM

"With work and home chores, most women don't have time for hobbies;"

:gotpopcorn:
 

#154 hm insulators

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:14 PM

"BTW, I don't sew, knit or crochet. I hate it. My dob is Bronze and my refractor is blue. Don't like pink. But I'm a hell of a cook. Go figure.

Same here, and it really surprized my mom (years and years and years ago) that I loved to cook---and am actually really good at it (so I've been told anyways). Guys like to eat too....and some of us learned to cook. I'm kind of actually the opposite end of the spectrum, I'm a guy who likes Broadway plays, likes being at home (actually prefer it), likes to read....and also LOVES astronomy (I must hate my bank account though, as I'm really good about not keeping all that dirty money in it :lol:)


Another guy who likes to cook here. Just found out one of the organic markets has boneless, skinless chicken thighs on sale and I plan to buy some and make lime-wine chicken.
 

#155 csrlice12

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:18 PM

and oddly enough, most chefs are men....

lime-wine chicken......got room for one more?
 

#156 Asbytec

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

"With work and home chores, most women don't have time for hobbies;"

:gotpopcorn:


Aren't their feet small enough to stand closer to the eyepiece? :help:
 

#157 csa/montana

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:55 PM

"With work and home chores, most women don't have time for hobbies;"

:gotpopcorn:


Aren't their feet small enough to stand closer to the eyepiece? :help:


I sit while observing. :smirk:
 

#158 csrlice12

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:04 PM

Cause we're male and we're dominated????? :lol:
 

#159 Asbytec

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:08 PM

I sit while observing. :smirk:


Okay, that's just too funny. Thanks for the chuckle. :lol:

I guess I do, too.

You know, maybe because Astronomy is full of toys, men take to the hobby. We like our toys. But, you know, what spurred my interest as a kid was looking at the moon through my father's home built 8" Newt and the idea of the fascinating scale of the universe. It just struck a cord that stayed with me. My sister and even my own daughter and wife just did not take to the hobby. Maybe it's because men and women are wired differently. Not superior or inferior, just wired differently.
 

#160 lcaldero

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 07:59 AM

Wow! Shocking news, there are differences between men and women! Seriously, and meaning no disrespect to anyone's family, I am surprised by the number of men who generalize about all women based on their wives and daughters interest in observing.

I am really disappointed by the number of posts proclaiming women's lack of interest in science.

Back to my pink telescopes and feminine pursuits involving children and cooking.
 

#161 Tony Flanders

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 08:08 AM

I am surprised by the number of men who generalize about all women based on their wives and daughters interest in observing.


Any data is better than no data. But are you really sure that people are trying to generalize rather than provide anecdotal information?

I am really disappointed by the number of posts proclaiming women's lack of interest in science.


I haven't noticed that. Rather the contrary; what's surprising is that the ratio of women to men who engage in telescopic observing is markedly lower than the ratio of women to men who are interested in the theoretical astronomy.
 

#162 Asbytec

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

Wow! Shocking news, there are differences between men and women!

I am really disappointed by the number of posts proclaiming women's lack of interest in science.

Back to my pink telescopes and feminine pursuits involving children and cooking.


It's not the shocking aspect of being wired differently, we all know that. Right. Maybe the cause lies in that fact. I dunno, just hypothesizing. I cannot explain why most amateur hobbyists I know are male, fewer are female. In fact, women I know are not interested in the least.

If you want to talk about women in science professions more generally you may get another answer. But, that was not the question, was it.

Cripes, responses like that make me sorry I posted anything...
 

#163 JMW

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 06:15 PM

I brought my wife to the 2010 and 2011 Golden State Star Parties. I showed her how to use the Sky Commander on the Obsession 20F5 and she was off to the races going through all the Messier objects that were above the horizon. She brought out a note pad and made notes about the objects she liked the most so she could show others what she thought was cool. She started a new job as an ICU nurse so she had to work this year. I went to the GSSP and OSP by myself and missed not having her along. She comes with me to public and members monthly star parties when she isn't working. She really enjoys doing public outreach astronomy and likes to share facts about the objects that she looks up on Sky Safari.

Getting her involved in astronomy has perks. She didn't mind when I bought a used TEC 140 refractor this September. She has seen through enough objects through quality scopes at events so she understands the costs involved for the higher end equipment. We just got back from Death Valley for a short vacation of astronomy and day hiking. Cold nights can be overcome with the right clothing and a place to warm up. We use a 5x8 cargo trailer modified to support astronomy camping. She really likes the furnace in our trailer on the non-summer months.

My wife also likes to go on multi-week backpacking trips so I know that I am very fortunate. We started backpacking together about 20 years ago and we are now in our mid fifties. We have only be doing astronomy with scopes for the last 7 years. We did and still do a lot of naked eye astronomy from the high Sierras on summer backpacking trips.
 

#164 StarStuff1

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Posted 27 January 2013 - 05:54 PM

Great post, Jeff. Yours is indeed a blessed astronomical family.

As I mentioned much earlier in this thread some of the most devoted amateur astronomers I have known were women. I have taught Astro 1 labs for 11 years. The ratio of males to females is typically 60% or more males. But their in lab performance has nothing to do with gender. What is more interesting to me is the students hired as lab assistants. Their primary job is to simply set up the 8-in S/C scopes for the labs. Almost none of them really care for astronomy as they are mostly physics majors. Again, nothing to do with gender. But I try my best to get them excited with the showpieces in the sky. Sometimes successful, but sometimes not.

The biggest thing that usually gets them exited is using the Collins I3 eyepiece and filters that the University has.
 

#165 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:55 PM

After seeing Contact and a few other movies, I kind of idolized Jodi Foster as astronomy's poster "girl" ... then a few nights ago ... :foreheadslap:


Not sure if you're referring to this comment, from an interview this week... but I was a little taken aback by it:

Q: Not many actors have an asteroid named after them. How did that happen?
A: I’m not sure, but I guess it had something to do with this (outer space) movie I did called "Contact." There are a lot of crazy astronomers out there and they loved that movie.


Yes, that is disappointing. Just like when I saw her in "The Silence of the Lambs" and was crushed to find she isn't even a real FBI agent.
 

#166 rflinn68

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:14 AM

Anyone ever heard of Henrietta Leavitt? I doubt it as women were forbidden to use telescopes in the supremely male dominated world of the observatory. She is one of the great unsung heros of science. She worked at the Harvard College Observatory. Leavitts job was to count and catalog the stars from images produced in observatories around the world. She was a brilliant scientist who loved her work. She became fascinated by a type of star known as a Cepheid Variable, which pulses in the night sky. Her breakthrough was discovering their brightness was precisely related to the speed they blinked. If two stars blink at the same rate it means they should be the same brightness. If one star appears dimmer you can then calculate how much further away it is than the brighter one. Distant galaxies were thought to be spiral nebula in her time but the only method they had of measuring distances, called parallax, had a limit to how far you could measure distances. She had found a method of measuring distances of stars that lied far beyond the reaches of parallax. But without access to a telescope she would go no further with her work. Her discovery, however, now gave astronomers a tool to measure the distances to the mysterious "nebula". The idea that our Milky Way might contain everything that existed was about to crumble.

The evidence to finally settle the great debate would be found thanks to the powerful new Hooker telescope being built at the Mount Wilson Observatory just outside Los Angeles. Using this new technology and Henrietta Leavitts method for calculating distance, a young astronomer would make a discovery that would change our view of the universe and forever immortalize his name. The astronomer was called Edwin Hubble. In 1923 while observing the Andromeda "nebula" he discovered a Cepheid Variable and used Leavitts method to determine exactly how far away it was, over 2 1/2 million light years away. The rest is history and I find it a shame that this brilliant woman doesnt get the credit that she deserves.

http://en.wikipedia....ta_Swan_Leavitt
 

#167 vsteblina

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:26 AM

Wow! Shocking news, there are differences between men and women! Seriously, and meaning no disrespect to anyone's family, I am surprised by the number of men who generalize about all women based on their wives and daughters interest in observing.

I am really disappointed by the number of posts proclaiming women's lack of interest in science.

Back to my pink telescopes and feminine pursuits involving children and cooking.


I entered a totally male dominated profession Forestry in the early 1970's just as women were entering the profession.

In my graduating class of 40 there were six woman. By the mid-70's the numbers were up to 40%. Nobody even bats an eye nowadays at a female Forester.

Not sure why woman entered the Forestry profession and not Astronomy. The lower division science requirements are pretty stiff and the woman seemed to have no problem getting through them.

My theory based on a sample of ONE (my daughter). She took every math and science class in high school and got straight A's, while struggling in English and other liberal arts classes.

NONE of her classes or instructors got her excited about science as a career. She ended up taking liberal arts classes in college and dropping out because she was bored. So now she makes real good money selling advertising for a free newspaper in Seattle!! A waste of talent.

I do have a concern about professional schools attitude towards their students. The attitude on flunking students out really needs to be revised. There are not enough students in the STEM fields to throw them OUT!!

I was a junior college transfer to UC Berkeley and had real concerns about my ability to finish the program. I even asked the school dean about my chances for finishing. His response was that the weeding out was done at the lower division level with all those math and science classes. Once I was admitted to the upper division program the focus was on making sure I succeeded in graduating.

His point was STEM students are generally pretty bright and their is no point in flunking them out in upper division. In fact, it really is a stupid policy.

I suspect if more science and engineering schools took that attitude there might be more majors in those fields.

Also high school teachers need to spend more time getting kids excited about science. English is a boring major, but a science class should never be boring.
 

#168 Carol L

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:44 AM

The rest is history and I find it a shame that this brilliant woman doesnt get the credit that she deserves.


:bow: :bow: :bow:

Thank you, Richard - I wish Edwin Hubble could read your post. ;)
 

#169 rflinn68

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:49 AM

The rest is history and I find it a shame that this brilliant woman doesnt get the credit that she deserves.


:bow: :bow: :bow:

Thank you, Richard - I wish Edwin Hubble could read your post. ;)


Thanks Carol...but I wish Henrietta Leavitt could read it. I probably never would have heard of her if not for a 3 minute bit on her in the show "Everything and Nothing".
 

#170 Carol L

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:21 PM

The rest is history and I find it a shame that this brilliant woman doesnt get the credit that she deserves.


:bow: :bow: :bow:

Thank you, Richard - I wish Edwin Hubble could read your post. ;)


Thanks Carol...but I wish Henrietta Leavitt could read it. I probably never would have heard of her if not for a 3 minute bit on her in the show "Everything and Nothing".


I guess there's a lot of 'forgotten giants' throughout history whose shoulders have been stood upon...
 

#171 Tori

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:22 PM

Anyone ever heard of Henrietta Leavitt?

The rest is history and I find it a shame that this brilliant woman doesnt get the credit that she deserves.


I have! She's one of my heroines!
 

#172 bumm

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:22 PM

A couple others that I can name right off the bat are Caroline Herschel and Annie Jump Cannon.
Marty
 

#173 roscoe

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:25 AM

I guess there's a lot of 'forgotten giants' throughout history whose shoulders have been stood upon...


What would be the proper word for a woman giant? I suspect that there have been a lot of 'famous' men who rode to fame on their wives or co-workers coat tails.......
Russ
 

#174 csrlice12

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:18 AM

"What would be the proper word for a woman giant?

I know a few, I'm married to one: Dear, Honey, Mommy (when referring to our dog/cat, I'm Daddy), Wife, counselor, and lover.....Yes, she is a giant, even at 5'1".....
 

#175 Tony Flanders

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:37 AM

Anyone ever heard of Henrietta Leavitt? ... She is one of the great unsung heroes of science.


Leavitt is very well known among people who know their history. Arguably, Annie Jump Cannon and her co-workers were even more important; we cannot meaningfully talk about stars without using her terminology.

To repeat what I said in an earlier note in this thread, astronomy is remarkable for the large number of women among professional astronomers -- much higher than in the closely related fields of physics and mathematics. My niece, doing a dissertation on this subject, said that many women she interviewed cited the women of "Pickering's Harem" and also the great astronomer Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin as role-models whose example gave them a foothold in what might otherwise be a male-dominated field.

Leavitt failed to get a Nobel Prize less because she was a woman than because there were then no Nobel Prizes in astronomy.

Another woman astronomer who famously didn't get a Nobel Prize is Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered pulsars. In this case, the lack of a Nobel Prize may be due to the widespread disrespect accorded to graduate students (who do most of the grunt work of science) compared to their tenured advisers.
 






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