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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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cadfour
member
*****

Reged: 07/26/12

Loc: Melbourne, Florida
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5624566 - 01/15/13 02:43 PM

'it's like a diamonds in the sky'.....they can't have. That's why.

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cheapersleeper
Post Laureate
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Reged: 01/22/10

Loc: Sachse TX
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: cadfour]
      #5624586 - 01/15/13 02:57 PM

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13596-male-monkeys-prefer-boys-toys.html

Above is a safe link to a short write up discussing gender differences and toy selection. While women and men are equally capable in most endeavors, there may actually be some biology involved in what a person chooses to do.

Regards,
Brad


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uniondrone
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 12/05/09

Loc: Streetlight Archipelago
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5624632 - 01/15/13 03:20 PM

Quote:


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.




This describes my girlfriend. She has Reynaud's syndrome. The last time she observed with me was in September, but left after one hour because she was too cold. For me, it was T-shirt weather early and light jacket weather as the night wore on.

I also wonder about cultural influences on the female to male ratio. For example, although engineering is largely male-dominated worldwide, chemistry (my college major) is female-dominated in parts of Europe, where women are encouraged to do (and considered better at) laboratory bench work. In the US, however, it seemed that at least 80% of chemistry majors were male.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5624749 - 01/15/13 04:23 PM

Quote:

Thankfully Carol you didn't hesitate. By the looks of your dark sky area I imagine every night is something folks here on the east coast could only dream of.




Yes, my skies are magnificent; with only one neighbor. That's why I have my 16" scope to enjoy the skies to the fullest.

I think we are in an age now, that the "little woman" image should be gone, and replaced with an image of anyone that enjoys the night skies, is on equal ground with others around. This should also include children, as they are the future keepers of our sky; including girls.

Perhaps a thread as to how to encourage females (or anyone) to join with us in observing the night skies, would be a good start.


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5624865 - 01/15/13 05:42 PM

Compensatory behavior, I would say. The same psychological doubts drive men to bigger telescopes and bigger guns.

- Jim


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Reged: 05/21/10

Loc: Minnesota
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5624914 - 01/15/13 06:12 PM

I think it has to do more with being a lone female in a group of men at a star party. Add in the way science is pushed at boys and not girls in school. In school I was the odd one who was into science, math, electronics, computers...

I have reynauds, that is what gloves are for, and thick boots. Plus I image mostly during cold weather and my warm room is heated and I have a heated floor mat


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orion61

*****

Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5624968 - 01/15/13 06:57 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Thankfully Carol you didn't hesitate. By the looks of your dark sky area I imagine every night is something folks here on the east coast could only dream of.




Yes, my skies are magnificent; with only one neighbor. That's why I have my 16" scope to enjoy the skies to the fullest.

I think we are in an age now, that the "little woman" image should be gone, and replaced with an image of anyone that enjoys the night skies, is on equal ground with others around. This should also include children, as they are the future keepers of our sky; including girls.

Perhaps a thread as to how to encourage females (or anyone) to join with us in observing the night skies, would be a good start.



Amen Carol, you caught me. I started this thread to start people wondering "if us guys can do it....)
Thanks for chiming in, We need more like you,
In this forum even the guys are breathing rare air, to say one of what 1000 people in your town are into this?,
So the posts about My Wife only looking for 5 minutes will pretty much be the same male or female..as asking your neighbors.
I feel absolutely blessed to be here with you folks Male and Female, I think you all are a special breed, to not be satisfied about the friction of shoes to Earth, to ask why,
to look up and wonder, to support with your votes spending
money where it could be spent elsewhere, Imagine what those 100 million dollars plus each, cruse missles dollars would do elsewhere. It is much to complex for me to understand.
I love this country and have lost a Family member to War, and wondered ...why... I have met young Muslems and Had one live in my house as a Foreign exchange student for a year.. one word," Beautiful" She became a part of my family,
(I did miss Pork chops tho) taught me much more than any news channel could, She and my Daughter became best of friends,I'm not ashamed, I cried when she left...We are still in contact.
Sorry for side tracking,,
Ladys help us find more Stargazers....
But just remember... the love you feel looking up is shared by many all over the world.. It's a good start...No translation is needed,
If we could all just get to know each other.. things could be different.. I wish more people could "feel" my Dream...


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mmclure
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 12/30/10

Loc: Sacramento, CA USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5625030 - 01/15/13 07:31 PM

Although it is true that there are differences in psychology and physiology between men and women, we are more similar than we are different. However, society has always had a polarizing and exaggerating effect on even small differences and a vicious circle starts. The latest Swedish edition of the Toys 'R Us catalog caused a sensation (and a backlash from some segments of society) when they showed boys and girls playing with the same toys - dolls, cars, stoves, lasers.

There's light at the end of the tunnel, but the tunnel is long. And this is not just a problem that shows up in women being accepted in traditionally male-dominated circles - the opposite is also true. Not so long ago it was unthinkable that a man might be a nurse.

There is absolutely no reason why there should not be equal numbers of men and women in fields that do not require very specific physical attributes.

I leave you with Peggy Seeger's (Pete Seeger's sister) take on the subject: I'm Gonna Be an Engineer. Things are now better, but still have room to improve.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: nirvanix]
      #5625134 - 01/15/13 08:29 PM

Quote:

I'm more interested to know why it's an old male dominated hobby. Last star party I was at had one kid there. Average age was definitely 50s. I was always in love with space growing up, but maybe there are so many other choices for kids now.




I am not sure the hobby itself is dominated by old males though there are certain a lot of us. But clubs and star parties are social events that may not attract younger astronomers... Twitter, Facebook, even Cloudy Nights, these provide the social links for the younger generation.

It is a time consuming hobby, younger observers have families and careers that take priority. My observing partner is in his early 30's, has a very good job and a 17 month old... He joined me a couple of weeks ago for the first time in about a year...

Jon


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la200o
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bumm]
      #5625162 - 01/15/13 08:43 PM

Men are more interested in hobbies with interesting and expensive gear.

Bill


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Carol L

*****

Reged: 07/05/04

Loc: Tomahawk, WI 45N//89W
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5625244 - 01/15/13 09:39 PM

Actually, i don't see what the big deal is. None of my women friends are interested in astronomy and TBH i've never even thought of asking them 'why'. Even within the boundary of our own gender, we all have different hobbies - and they can be quite varied. For example, some of my friends' hobbies include hunting, fishing, ballroom dancing, snowmobiling, football, soap operas, breeding show dogs, romance novels, needlepoint, web design, stained glass creations, home made wine, jewelry making and carpentry. Different strokes.

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


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droid
rocketman
*****

Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5625333 - 01/15/13 10:22 PM

well now,thats a new twist,

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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: Carol L]
      #5625350 - 01/15/13 10:31 PM

Quote:

Actually, i don't see what the big deal is. None of my women friends are interested in astronomy and TBH i've never even thought of asking them 'why'. Even within the boundary of our own gender, we all have different hobbies - and they can be quite varied. For example, some of my friends' hobbies include hunting, fishing, ballroom dancing, snowmobiling, football, soap operas, breeding show dogs, romance novels, needlepoint, web design, stained glass creations, home made wine, jewelry making and carpentry. Different strokes.

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






My friends, men and women, know I enjoy amateur astronomy, they know they are welcome to join me, occasionally it happens. I loan scopes to people who are interested, one guy at work has had one for several months and he seems get out whenever it is clear. However, most are mildly interested but not sufficiently interested to trade a warm bed for a night or even an hour under the stars.

Just curious.. a question to the women: On a personal level, did you find there are artificial barriers to this hobby for women, ones that do not exist for men? My gut feeling is that everyone is welcome and whatever differences in the numbers are the result of more men being interested than women.

As a note, I like to distinguish between observational amateur astronomy (stargazing) and amateur astronomy. There is more to this hobby than looking at the night sky with a telescope, in the big picture, one can be an armchair amateur. There are aspects of astronomy that my wife finds interesting and she has pursued those interests so she knows more about black holes and quasars than I do...

Jon


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droid
rocketman
*****

Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5625431 - 01/15/13 11:20 PM

Quote:


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




Because theyre all red necks thats why, seriously.
Everyone of um hunts, fishes, will willing bury theyre trucks in a mud pit, can tear down theyr motors with theyre bare hands, and proudly announce afterwords that they had parts left over, and it runs like a top. Most, if not all .secretly , a few not so secretly, suspect theres something strange about a man who'll sit in freezing weather and do nothing but stare into a telescope.


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BarbMoore
sage
*****

Reged: 05/11/09

Loc: South central New Mexico
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Widespread]
      #5625452 - 01/15/13 11:35 PM

I have to go out observing with the hubby. He can't move around all this equipment without me.

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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: BarbMoore]
      #5625458 - 01/15/13 11:38 PM

Quote:

I have to go out observing with the hubby. He can't move around all this equipment without me.






jon


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droid
rocketman
*****

Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: BarbMoore]
      #5625462 - 01/15/13 11:43 PM

Nice web site Barb, I was looking at the gallry photos,the star party photos were taken next to a missle site???
Id love to get a good photo of that little Joe standing in the background.


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Bill Whitehead
sage
*****

Reged: 07/11/09

Loc: Exit 135 - Garden St Parkway
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: droid]
      #5625703 - 01/16/13 06:59 AM

Friends,

My astronomy club has quite a few female members, though they are still in the minority. Still, I have met many women over the years who like science.

However, the real puzzle is why so few own and operate telescopes. I know only one woman who owns one.

Ask yourself this question; How many women own telescopes at your club(s)? How many have you met at star parties with their own equipment? Of all the star parties I've attended over the years, I've only met one.

I must admit, the disparity between women who are interested in science and women who take the plunge and own a telescope is startling. I have no clue why.

Peace, Bill


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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: Bill Whitehead]
      #5625730 - 01/16/13 07:44 AM

Quote:

However, the real puzzle is why so few own and operate telescopes. I know only one woman who owns one.

Ask yourself this question; How many women own telescopes at your club(s)? How many have you met at star parties with their own equipment? Of all the star parties I've attended over the years, I've only met one.




That surprises me. Several women in my astronomy club are quite active; you will often find them manning (womanning?) telescopes at public events.

Then of course there's Barbara Wilson and Sue French, who are in a different class from us normal mortals ...

Still, there's no doubt that women are seriously underrepresented.

As are African-Americans and young people, just two name two subsets of the population. The small number of African-Americans obviously has something to do with economics, but it's equally obvious that economics don't account for it entirely.

Jon's point that young people are less likely to join clubs and show up at events is legitimate. But they're also underrepresented in terms of internet forums and telescope sales. I wouldn't be too quick to leap to conclusions ... this kind of thing tends to go in cycles. But if current trends continue, it's very bad news for our hobby.

To those of us who make our living from the hobby, these are genuinely urgent questions.

Tony Flanders
Associate Editor, Sky & Telescope


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bunyon
Post Laureate
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Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5625754 - 01/16/13 08:25 AM

People have been talking about the age factor being bad news for the hobby as long as I've been in the hobby (30 years this year!). I'm not saying they're wrong or that it doesn't look bad, but it is complicated enough that I don't think definitive conclusions can be reached.

Certainly if 40+ folks stop entering the hobby, we're in trouble. But we seem to have a never ending source of those (er, us).

I think the same is true, more or less, for women and minorities. There aren't many, today, true. But there seem to be more than when I started long ago. If people enter the hobby at older ages, then advances in opportunity for women and minorities should start to show up over the next decade or two. One hopes anyway.


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