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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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wz2
Most Boring Astronomer...


Reged: 07/30/10

Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bumm]
      #5623447 - 01/14/13 09:23 PM

I think you guys touched on all the points:

Cold
Bugs
Staying up late
Remote locations
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.

Chris


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Tom Polakis
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/20/04

Loc: Tempe, Arizona
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bumm]
      #5623494 - 01/14/13 09:54 PM

Quote:

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.
Marty




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.

Tom


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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5623508 - 01/14/13 09:59 PM

It could be that it's so "gizmo" oriented and that points to we males. Most women aren't into the machinery end of a hobby and much of this is machinery oriented, like it or not. Barbara has no interest in what I do other than if I have Jupiter, Saturn or M42 in the eyepiece. And she likes my images. But how I get to the finished product doesn't concern her, only if she can post it for her 'net friends to see.

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.

David


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wky46
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 12/12/05

Loc: west Ky.
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5623528 - 01/14/13 10:09 PM

There's more male nerds?

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lcaldero
sage
*****

Reged: 04/07/11

Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: wky46]
      #5623567 - 01/14/13 10:30 PM

I have wondered why myself. I don't know, but I wish we could avoid statements like "science isn't as attractive to the ladies as it is to the guys". Girls are often discouraged in a variety ways of ways from the sciences. It's not that easy for women to gain entry into male dominated professions, and it certainly carries over into hobbies.

Laura


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: lcaldero]
      #5623571 - 01/14/13 10:32 PM

Quote:

I have wondered why myself. I don't know, but I wish we could avoid statements like "science isn't as attractive to the ladies as it is to the guys". Girls are often discouraged in a variety ways of ways from the sciences. It's not that easy for women to gain entry into male dominated professions, and it certainly carries over into hobbies.

Laura






And besides, I don't believe it's true. As an example, medical school classes these days are predominantly female, by 57 to 43 percent.

-- Chris


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5623577 - 01/14/13 10:34 PM

Quote:

Men and women are wired differently, plain and simple.




No doubt. But people who claim that specific behaviors are genetically based usually end up with egg on their faces.

When I was a child, women were inherently inferior in math. It was a self-evident fact; the evidence was everywhere.

Today, American schoolgirls' math and science scores are higher than boys'.

Did their genetics change? I think not.

Don't be too surprised if women amateur astronomers outnumber men some one of these days.


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Crow Haven
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/09/09

Loc: Oregon USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: wky46]
      #5623578 - 01/14/13 10:37 PM

Cold --------------------------------- I never enjoyed the cold and even with good winter clothing have had hypothermia a few times...still I love the stars and endure it.
Bugs ---------------------------------- this is easier to deal with here.
Staying up late ----------------------- no problem = night owl!
Remote locations ---------------------- home/observatory mostly now.
Possible alone or in a very small group -- that's fine with me.
Noises in the woods ------------------- ok, this has gotten to me a few times = we have cougar and black bears.
Setting up equipment ------------------ I actually enjoy it!
Taking down equipment ----------------- I don't have to do nearly as much of this now with the observatory. I do like to tinker/experiment with scope/camera parts though.

These are issues for some women, but nothing major or beyond solution.
-------------------------------------------------------

"Often, it's the "good old boys club" mentality of the hobby that puts them off."
------------- I've heard this complaint too...

In the end, astronomy either interests someone or it doesn't. I'd rather not blame it on "biology."
---Maya


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Achernar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bumm]
      #5623609 - 01/14/13 11:01 PM

Sounds like in Iran, if you are what would be called a geek or nerd here in the U.S., you can meet girls at the local astronomy club, religion and culture aside. I have to admit, it is a switch from the U.S.

Taras


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skinnyonce
super member
*****

Reged: 03/23/11

Loc: ohio
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Achernar]
      #5623629 - 01/14/13 11:23 PM

Girls just wanna have FUN
Cindy Lauper 1983


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Paco_Grande
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/14/12

Loc: Banana Republic of California
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5623655 - 01/14/13 11:44 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Men and women are wired differently, plain and simple.




No doubt. But people who claim that specific behaviors are genetically based usually end up with egg on their faces.

When I was a child, women were inherently inferior in math. It was a self-evident fact; the evidence was everywhere.

Today, American schoolgirls' math and science scores are higher than boys'.

Did their genetics change? I think not.

Don't be too surprised if women amateur astronomers outnumber men some one of these days.




You ignored the second sentence in my statement. The same paragraph means they go hand in hand, mkay. Here it is again.

Quote:

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).




Plenty of studies show: place male and female toddlers in a room full of toys and see which way they gravitate. Boys head for the trucks and the girls towards dolls. In general. After that, depending on how strict it is, cultural domestication of children opens or closes doors in the mind. If one holds a passion, it really doesn't matter a whole lot one way or the other.

IMHO, of course.


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jg3
sage


Reged: 05/27/07

Loc: near Auburn, CA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Paco_Grande]
      #5623710 - 01/15/13 12:44 AM

Here's one to figure (or not): My wife and I are both engineers, and aware and interested in sciences outside our professions. I build and tinker, set up, and view for hours; she only comes out for a minute when I got something good in view.

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core
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 02/23/08

Loc: Mostly in Norman, OK
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5623725 - 01/15/13 01:01 AM

On a side note, I thot it rather interesting that Vixen Japan has a female-focused 'promotional' astronomy program that can be found here "Soragirl"

Relying on google translate, I can sort of make out some of it, including:

* planetarium/sidewalk show with celebrity guest Tomoe Shinohara
* planned astronomy tours
* ARENA H 6x21 bino + moonmap box sets
* Sorapti 8x32 8x42 bino + skymap + accessory sets
* trade booths with pics of female attendees

It's definitely from a different angle, taking in amateur astronomy and an extension of enjoying and appreciating nature.

I really do like the Sorapti set, look like a rather welcoming gift for my teen nieces.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5623981 - 01/15/13 08:30 AM

Something to ponder:

I think the question is an interesting question, it's pretty clear that in the US, observational amateur astronomy is dominated by men. There may be barriers for women, my gut feeling is that this is not the reason, my thinking is observational amateur astronomy is slightly more interesting to the male population than the female population.

If you take a random sample of 100 men and a random sample of 100 women, my guess is most of the time, you will find exactly zero men and zero women who are amateur astronomers. We are a small hobby and the vast majority of men and women are not sufficiently interested to get involved.

Tim Allen and Tool Time, maybe it's not PC, maybe it's stereotyping but the men I know are more likely than the women I know to get involved with hobbies that involve tools/toys/equipment. For men, often it's not the actual experience of observing or of riding that bicycle but rather just the experience of owning and fooling around with it.

Just a few thoughts...

Jon


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Tom Polakis
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/20/04

Loc: Tempe, Arizona
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5624033 - 01/15/13 09:12 AM

The hobby of astronomy is much more male-dominated than is the science of astronomy, and the science is trending toward a larger percentage of women. In this study of the status of women astronomers, it is mentioned that 18% of American Astronomical Society full members are women, and in the past 20 years, 30% of named post-docs have been women.

It's something other than women not liking science that causes them to steer away from amateur astronomy.

Tom


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5624034 - 01/15/13 09:12 AM

Quote:

My gut feeling is that this is not the reason, my thinking is observational amateur astronomy is slightly more interesting to the male population than the female population.




That matches my own feeling. Parts of the reason for the difference is negative -- actual barriers, either social or physical. But more of it has to do with greater positive motivation among men than women.

However, to some extent that's just pushing the question back one level. Why are women less motivated?

Quote:

The men I know are more likely than the women I know to get involved with hobbies that involve tools/toys/equipment.




I think that's true. But let me give a thought-provoking counterexample.

My wife is an extremely accomplished and enthusiastic seamstress, a skill that she learned from her mother. It's hard to imagine anybody less likely to be an amateur astronomer than my mother-in-law, however she was passionate about sewing.

As it happens, sewing is highly technological and gadget-oriented. Toward the end of her life, my highly techno-phobic mother-in-law was experimenting with computer-controlled sewing machines.

There are certainly some men who are enthusiastic about sewing, but they're vastly outnumbered by women. Conversely, woodworking, which requires rather similar equipment and skills, is much more popular among men.


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Achernar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: lcaldero]
      #5624048 - 01/15/13 09:24 AM

When I was young, I sure wished there were more young ladies intersted in amatuer astronomy....... Women of course now are in most professions that were dominated by men, I just haven't met many girls or ladies over the past 35 years who don't mind shivering at the telescope hunting down galaxies that could be 300 million, let alone 3 billion light years away.

Taras


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ensign
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/16/08

Loc: Southwestern Ontario
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bumm]
      #5624062 - 01/15/13 09:36 AM

A friend once pointed out that stargazing consists of going out alone or with a small group of guys at night to remote places. As guys, we're likely to answer, "Yeah, so what?" Many women see this situation differently than we do.

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shawnhar
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/25/10

Loc: Knoxville, TN
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5624068 - 01/15/13 09:39 AM

You got it Jon, tools is the main factor I think, and yes that is just a culture thing, think I know how to use a double boiler to make fudge? My wife sure does...think she is interested in learning to collimate my dob? about as much as I am interested in learning to make fudge.

Imagine Martha Stewart talking about polar alignment, that would be a sea change

Edited by shawnhar (01/15/13 09:44 AM)


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Widespread
professor emeritus


Reged: 05/11/11

Loc: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? [Re: Achernar]
      #5624105 - 01/15/13 10:03 AM

With telescopes, my wife doesn't do anything but look through the EP after the target is centered. But she does enjoy hanging out with me for a while and scanning with binos.

She first started to show interest about a year ago, when, during one of our evening walks, she noticed a bright cluster near zenith. It was the Pleiades, and after we got back to the house, I showed it to her with 15x70 binos and then my ST80.

I think the fact that she had found it herself, rather than having me point it out to her, made a big difference. Something similar happened again last spring. She was scanning near Sirius with 9x63 binos and came upon M41. We positively identified it using Sky Safari, and she was happy as a clam.

Since then, she has stumbled across Stock 2 and Melotte 20, both outstanding bino targets. She gets a big kick when I show her the same items on my iPad, crying, "Yes! That's it, that's it!" (except in Japanese).

Most recently, I was doing some casual viewing with my ST80 from my 2FL deck. She came out after her bath with her 9x63's. I would GoTo an object with my NexStar SLT mount, and then turn on my green laser pointer so she could find it. This let her easily see M36, M37 and M38 with the binos.

The feeling I get is that she loves the views, but doesn't want to fiddle with gadgetry.

Cheers,
David


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