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Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why?

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#176 steveyo

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:17 AM

Societies who keep education from their women do so to their great detriment. Those societies and nations have the highest infant mortality and poverty rates, and the most violence. I'm generalizing, but a quick visit to the google will confirm this, if anyone doubts it.

I truly believe if women ran the world we'd be MUCH better off. <edited out political statements and misstatements - sorry>

 

#177 MikeBOKC

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:37 AM

Well not to stray into politics, but the vast majority of tax expenditures is on social service entitlements, not defense. Gotta go with the facts . . .
 

#178 smallscopefanLeo

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:59 PM

I agree with looking carefully at the facts, as stated above. We spend a lot on education here in the U.S.A., which is how it should be. Problem is, much of that is wasted on top heavy bureaucracies at every level.
 

#179 steveyo

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:08 PM

I apologize for having strayed. (into politics)

My point was that education of women in a society is directly linked to that society's level of development and ability to flourish.
 

#180 smallscopefanLeo

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:11 PM

I agree that treating women equally in education is to the benefit of all.
 

#181 orion61

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:39 PM

Its the only thing My Wife will let me do alone at night without her..
Oh, and my scopes nick name "The Mistress"
LOL
 

#182 tecmage

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:07 PM

You never have to apologize for straying into hot-button topics if you don't do it. :rules:
 

#183 orion61

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:19 AM

It takes a pretty good relationship and trust to be allowed to
trek out alone all night long, alone. Just think about that!
But if your single, not the best hobby to meet girls! LOL
 

#184 astro_baby

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:33 PM

Hmmm...it may be that women are under represented on boards such as CN. But I find women at star parties very often and at outreach events.

I think there is often a misogynistic attitude by men whether men recognise it or not. I have lost count of the number of times I have been assumed to be the 'wife' of an astronomer at an event. I have had a dealer tell me after experiencing problems with a scope that 'well its more of a mans thing - its probably too complicated for you' I shant repeat my response here because the swear filter would melt.

Maybe for me its different. I come from an age when girls career choices were limited to nursing, secretarial and such like. I told a careers advisor once I wanted to be a pilot and was told 'well you could be an air hostess - its more or less the same thing' :( As things happened I was too dim to be a pilot anyway.

Fortunately I had a Dad who was born 30 years too early (he would have been a hippy if he had been born later) he had a lot of advanced notions for the time and place of his birth (gay rights, female equality, anti racist etc, non discrimatory) and he encouraged me to work with him on cars, building boats, motorbikes and science as well as always teaching me never to run with a crowd but be my own person. Dad loved tinkering with stuff or making stuff and he hated weak women. I was never allowed to be one and was encouraged to get stuck in with stuff. V12 Engines, shooting, boating (including helping him building a 46' boat) etc BUT.....

and its a big BUT....

One day I got hitched to a guy. Had kids and once that happened it was down to me to cook and clean so I had to give up most of my hobbies and interests as the needs of my children took precedence. Now this might cause a flame but very often in relation ships men will feel they are doing half the work when in truth they are doing a lot less ....I see it in my friends marriages and relationships as I saw it in my own. Guys will often do a limited, token amount and believe they have done their share simply by taking the trash out...while the woman has cleaned, hoovered, fed the kids, bathed them, put them to bed, cooked dinner AND done a day at the office.

Like a lot of women I found my partner was often not as supportive of me as I was of him and nowhere near as supportive as he often claimed he was (or was in his own imagination). The kids were always my responsibility and even though I held down a senior role in a company I still found I had to come home, cook and clean as well as keeping the kids in shoes, manage the finances AND be the girl on his arm at his social events.

I could only come back to the hobby a few years ago once the boys were old enough to take care of themselves and...... maybe more critically got divorced :)(Yay !!!)

So I think there is cultural stuff in there for women but also that as a general rule we are the ones who end up being the child rearers and carers and anyone with small children will know how tough it is to maintain even basic stuff like having a shower and eating in peace with small children around.....and also when they are teens as well :)

I also happen to think that there is an element of boards being male dominated to an extent and very often I do feel a lot of guys see their telescope as a substiture for a certain part of their anatomy - at least it seems that way sometimes. Men may not realise they are doing it (and I am sure most dont) but it comes over wearisome to a woman at times.

What I do see is a lot of is women coming onto boards and then after a short time they stop posting...seen it happen lots. Why ? No idea perhaps the women on this thread might comment.
 

#185 Crow Haven

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:36 PM

Interesting post!
I see a lot of similarities in your upbringing and relationship with your dad with my experiences also. I helped my dad completely restore a 1951 MGTD from the ground up and was always interested in whatever projects he had going in the garage, construction on the house, fishing, shooting, etc., besides sharing interests with Mom as well.

Most of the women I've met at various star parties were wives of men who were the main astro-enthusiasts. Few had scopes of their own. :shrug:

I think you're right about the energy/labor required of the typical parental commitments and the amount most women take on...I found my time quite limited while I was raising my own son. I am happy to make the most of my time to enjoy astronomy now.

There seems to be some of the "When Harry Met Sally" syndrome at work in clubs and forums. This is so odd...it seems to persist though. Human nature. Of course men can just be friends with women, but there are reasons some are less interested in this apparently. Is it to do with their own age/generation/culture? Common interests ought to encourage dialog, but from the postings ratio of women on threads it might seem as though they don't feel really included/accepted...but they ought not to let that stop them if they want to participate. Some may just be dealing with time constraints though. I wish I knew what the answer really was. It would be weird if there are lots of women members on the forum but practically all of them are just lurkers! :shocked: :shrug:
---Maya
 

#186 astro_baby

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:44 PM

Maya, I was a lurker for ages on boards. i seldom saw other women post and I kind of felt, let the boys be boys and stay out of it.

Its ok because I had magazines and books to read but you may be right that there are lurkers. My mum and I never really got on well and from my early teens she had severe health problems that meant we were never really close. i spent mos of my pre teens and early teens with Dad and my brother. My brother died very young thanks to a deunk driver when I was just hitting age 11. That left me and Dad.

I dont think thats the sole reason for my interest in things that are considered a mans hobby. My old flat,ate from years ago was very intested in lots of what might be considered mens hobbies, she was a fabulous craftswoman who could turn out beautiful wooden furniture as well as make fantastic lace. She ha been very pushed away from boys toys by her family but the instinct was always there.

Gender and gender roles are after all a social construct. i dont believe its genetic or evolutionary in any real sense. i could end up sounding a bit like a card carrying uber femme isolationist here but I suspect women have been conditioned over yeas by a male dminated society and onl now are we getting our fair share.

Interestingly in ancient Egypt women were far more equal and could own busnesses, land, property etc. after the collapse of the ancient Egyptians it was centuries before women were allowed to own property again.

That sounds strident and its not meant to be, I raise it only to show that the gender issues are more related to society than anything innate in the female/male phyche or physicallity.
 

#187 Joe Bergeron

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:10 PM

CN really needs a "Like" button.
 

#188 csa/montana

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 07:35 PM

:like:

For now, this (in More Graemlins) will have to do. :grin:
 

#189 BigC

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:49 PM







Maya, I was a lurker for ages on boards. i seldom saw other women post and I kind of felt, let the boys be boys and stay out of it.

Its ok because I had magazines and books to read but you may be right that there are lurkers. My mum and I never really got on well and from my early teens she had severe health problems that meant we were never really close. i spent mos of my pre teens and early teens with Dad and my brother. My brother died very young thanks to a deunk driver when I was just hitting age 11. That left me and Dad.

I dont think thats the sole reason for my interest in things that are considered a mans hobby. My old flat,ate from years ago was very intested in lots of what might be considered mens hobbies, she was a fabulous craftswoman who could turn out beautiful wooden furniture as well as make fantastic lace. She ha been very pushed away from boys toys by her family but the instinct was always there.

Gender and gender roles are after all a social construct. i dont believe its genetic or evolutionary in any real sense. i could end up sounding a bit like a card carrying uber femme isolationist here but I suspect women have been conditioned over yeas by a male dminated society and onl now are we getting our fair share.

Interestingly in ancient Egypt women were far more equal and could own busnesses, land, property etc. after the collapse of the ancient Egyptians it was centuries before women were allowed to own property again.

That sounds strident and its not meant to be, I raise it only to show that the gender issues are more related to society than anything innate in the female/male phyche or physicallity.

Not strident at all.

History shows us that certain people or classes of people have always tried ,sometimes successfully, to dominate and control everyone else, to the general detriment of all.

Girls and women can pretty certainly do anything in astronomy except for those few times when upper body strength is required to lift a heavy scope onto its mount.Of course the same limitation is imposed on smaller men,those in less than great health, and so on, which leads one to think such scopes need a better way of being set up!
 

#190 csa/montana

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 11:39 PM

which leads one to think such scopes need a better way of being set up!



There is; build an observatory around them. :lol:
 

#191 bunyon

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:14 AM

Its the only thing My Wife will let me do alone at night without her..
Oh, and my scopes nick name "The Mistress"
LOL


All my scopes nickname is a take off of Mistress:

the big one
the old one
the shiny one
the gold one
etc.

One night my wife and a friend were shopping. Standing in line for the register, friend asks wife if I'm out with the mistress. Yes, wife says, he's with the big one. She adds, he was with the old one last night. Right, friend says, I thought I saw her in the car earlier.

They then become aware that all activity around them has ceased and half a dozen women are staring at them, mouths agape.

Good times.
 

#192 kcolter

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:42 AM

My wife's catch phrase for astronomy, "nerds in the night."
 

#193 mark8888

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:51 AM

My wife's catch phrase for astronomy, "nerds in the night."


LOL :grin:
 

#194 Carol L

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 11:06 AM

i seldom saw other women post and I kind of felt, let the boys be boys and stay out of it.


Mel, was that in forums, or somewhere else?
I was in Yahoo 'clubs' and MSN groups from the late 90's till mid-2004, and women were a rarity there, too. Still in all, i never lurked - too many questions, too little time. What i found extremely annoying in those groups were flirty-girls who made it quite obvious right from the starting gate that they joined because the group was male-dominated. Every time one of them would show up, it seemed to make me work even harder to show that at least one woman in the group had matured from the neck up. But maybe those flirty-girls are why i didn't experience any sexism back then - the hounds were already too busy. :smirk:

The forums were a totally new experience. I'd heard how nasty the 'news groups' were, so when someone invited me to join CN back in 2004, i initially signed up with an incognito username and lurked for a while. The place looked ok, so i signed up for good and abandoned the other name. I eventually joined a few other online forums but abandoned them as soon as i realized that the leadership not only allowed sexist remarks, but they even added to the 'fun' occasionally (the old "boys-will-be-boys" syndrome). So i can fully understand why many women might not want to wade knee-deep in testosterone for too long. They may have had similar experiences, and only stayed in CN long enough to get the astro-info they were looking for.
 

#195 MikeBOKC

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:09 PM

Frankly I think this hobby tends to attract men who are, shall we say, less testosterone soaked than you would find on a forum about trap shooting or NASCAR or football or even fishing. Astronomy is not an athletic endeavor; it is often a solitary pursuit with no "team" ethic; it demands patience; there's little instant gratification involved; it is rarely competitive, and it tends to attract guys (and gals) who were probably known as nerds in 10th grade. Hardly a big-muscle, beer-swilling macho pursuit.
 

#196 csrlice12

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:44 PM

"Hardly a big-muscle, beer-swilling macho pursuit."

Then why are dobs shaped like beer cans (and made from the same material)(not to mention that both, when tipped towards the sky can give you blurry vision)??????? :lol:
 

#197 Carol L

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:34 PM

Mike, i realize CN's probably not bad as far as male dominated forums go - that's why i specifically mentioned 'knee deep' testosterone instead of saying it was dripping from the walls. :lol: Truth be told though, since joining CN in 2004 i've read plenty of comments that some women would definitely consider sexist. The remarks weren't aimed at a woman member or anything - they were just said off-handedly from one guy to another in a thread about whatever. But that's all it would take for some women to decide to stay under the radar instead of openly participating in the forums.
 

#198 astro_baby

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 02:49 PM

Carol... I wouldnt say it was limited to either forums or groups. The od MSN and Yahoo groups were bad news in many ways but I have seen the same on various forums. i'd admit that its less so on CN ( thats a big maybe ) beckause ai am not on this forum a lot to be honest.

I probably lurk on more forums than I post on...for sure. Oddly one of the mos welcoming was a rocketry forum where I imagined I would definitley be neck deep in testo :)
 

#199 Crow Haven

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:34 PM

I spoke with a 17 yr old a few months back who told me she was really interested in studying astrophysics. Her school doesn't offer observational astronomy and she really wished they did, but it's not deemed necessary. It's too much trouble. It's better to just call up the information needed online or in texts and view Hubble telescope or other observatory astrophotos.

Aside from the social issues with forums/clubs, is there less interest in observational astronomy for women (and men)due in part to those gorgeous astrophotos easily available to most everyone? Views through typical small and medium-sized backyard telescopes pale in comparison to astrophotos and many people may really not see the point to looking at faint grey fuzzies. The moon and a few planets are more rewarding visually, but there's the "when you've seen it once..." feeling some convey afterward. In this day and age, with all the media available, it could be easy to become jaded...and no long-term focus is required.

Observational astronomy is most interesting when information about the object viewed is learned...but you don't personally have to use a telescope for that now. Maybe that's part of the problem.

What is it that keeps all of you doing visual astronomy when all those incredible astrophotos are available? Why are you still interested in it? Does it offer men more than it does to women? I like the "live view" through the scope, but I can see where it comes up short for others.
 

#200 Achernar

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:37 PM

That's a good question Maya. Maybe it's actually seeing something that very few humans ever get to see directly with their own eyes, knowing it's at a mind chilling distance from Earth. No camera, no computer enhancement, just photons reaching and creating an electrical signal in your retina is a very different experience for me than looking at a photo or a monitor screen. Time and time again, I come across objects I never thought could be seen visually through any telescope, as a recognizable entity. Perhaps visual astronomy is like hunting or fishing, in an indirect way. I enjoy the challenge of locating and observing galaxies and nebulae, many of which are not easy to find, even with large telescopes and digital setting cricles. Especially when you are in a lightpolluted area where the skies are often milky. It's not about success or failure, anytime you get to enjoy time under the stars, no matter where you do it is a success. Astronomy is not a competition after all, there is plenty to go around for everyone.

Taras
 






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