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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why?
      #5622834 - 01/14/13 03:01 PM

I have always wondered why our beautiful Hobby is so heavily
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.
your thoughts?


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5622846 - 01/14/13 03:06 PM



-- Chris


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MikeBOKC
Post Laureate
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Reged: 05/10/10

Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5622858 - 01/14/13 03:12 PM

Just a guess here, but I think most hobbies tend to be handed down from parent to child on a same-gender basis. Dads teach sons to fish, golf, motorcycle. Moms teach daughters to do more domestic things. 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.

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MawkHawk
sage
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Reged: 08/23/09

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5622878 - 01/14/13 03:26 PM

All I know is that my wife will only venture out for a couple minutes if I can show her either the moon or Saturn. Doesn't care to see anything else. She doesn't understand why I'd drive an hour to the club site last night to "look at stars", then get a call and drive back up there tonight to meet some guys "to look at the same stars"...

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Tony Flanders
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5622885 - 01/14/13 03:29 PM

It's an interesting and important question. For what it's worth, almost all techie hobbies are male-dominated. If anything, amateur astronomy has more women than most.

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?


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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5622922 - 01/14/13 03:48 PM

NIC POST TONY!
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..
JUST KIDDING!!!


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Dennis_S253
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Reged: 11/22/11

Loc: West Central Florida
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: MawkHawk]
      #5622923 - 01/14/13 03:49 PM

My wife has never looked through the EP. The next door neighbor lady one night ask me what I was looking at. I showed her Saturn and she said, oh yea I see the ring and went back in the house with my wife.

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Greyhaven
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/11/04

Loc: Greater downtown Maine
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Dennis_S253]
      #5623039 - 01/14/13 04:41 PM

Well if it's that giving young girls the same opportunities that young lads are given to the sciences I must be doing something wrong. My grand daughter now almost 8 years old has had her own 4" newt. on a alt az tripod since she was 3. Oh, she loves to come out to the observatory with Grampa and take a quick peek at what I'm doing, but truth be told she thinks the observatory would be put to a much nobler use if I would get all my stuff out of there so some proper furnishings could be brought in and there would be less things to trip on. I tried, still have a few more years to work on it until the boy factor removes all hope.
Be Well
Grey


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5623255 - 01/14/13 07:12 PM

Quote:

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.


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BarbMoore
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Reged: 05/11/09

Loc: South central New Mexico
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5623275 - 01/14/13 07:27 PM

My husband and I were brought into the hobby by our son when he was in elementary school. That was close to a decade ago. Our son's interests have moved to girls and cars but the hubby and I are still heavily involved in astronomy outreach. There are some of us women out there but we come few and far between.

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John Kuraoka
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Reged: 12/12/12

Loc: Sunny San Diego, CA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5623277 - 01/14/13 07:30 PM

I think it's because it's cold out there at night.

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.


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Mxplx2
sage


Reged: 09/12/12

Loc: PA USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5623278 - 01/14/13 07:30 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.

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Jon Isaacs
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Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Mxplx2]
      #5623302 - 01/14/13 07:45 PM

Quote:

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.

Jon


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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: orion61]
      #5623310 - 01/14/13 07:52 PM

Quote:

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.


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Pinbout
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5623354 - 01/14/13 08:25 PM

the white one is for the wife, the cheap more than 1/3rd ~ undercorrected is for me...

I get to carry both.




Edited by Pinbout (01/14/13 08:27 PM)


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kenrenard
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Reged: 12/13/12

Loc: Dunmore, PA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5623370 - 01/14/13 08:32 PM

We have quite a few women in our local club including the club president. A few are very seasoned one in particular has helped me out quite a bit. She is probably one of the most skilled visual observers I've seen. With two young daughters I try to get them out and get looks at the sky. My six year old is very interested and got me started in the first place. I hope she keeps her zest for science and math.

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.


Ken


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Achernar
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Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5623392 - 01/14/13 08:43 PM

Perhaps one reason is women don't naturally consider going to dark and remote areas alone or in small group a good time, let alone shivering in the cold looking for that faint fuzzy. More women than men think spending hours at night somewhere is for the birds, but it does seem that more girls and younger women have taken an interest in astronomy in recent years. I see as many girls as boys now at outreach events.

Taras


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Paco_Grande
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Loc: Banana Republic of California
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Pinbout]
      #5623394 - 01/14/13 08:44 PM

Love how you guys dance around this, being all PC and such.

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).


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GeneT
Ely Kid
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Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5623428 - 01/14/13 09:05 PM

My wife is good for 5 minutes or so under the eyepiece. My astronomy club has an annual Fall picnic, followed by a viewing session. Last year I took her--to the picnic, then returned her home. She does not like bugs, and strange noises in the night far away from home. The good news is that she does not gripe anytime I want to go out viewing. Also, she does not gripe if I want to sleep in until noon the next day.

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bumm
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Reged: 01/07/11

Loc: Iowa
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: GeneT]
      #5623440 - 01/14/13 09:15 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.
Marty


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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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? new [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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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: shawnhar]
      #5624106 - 01/15/13 10:03 AM

Quote:

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




Let's see....I know how and do use a double boiler, not so much for fudge, but I do melt chocolate for use in desserts (tip...add a little butter to the chocolate for some very creamy texture). Last night, I made shrimp bordelaise. I also have an 8X8 rolloff observatory.

David


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Feidb
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: shawnhar]
      #5624108 - 01/15/13 10:04 AM

My wife has looked through the eyepiece on occasion, but she goes to the major events for the camping and to get out of town.

As for women in this hobby? We mustn't forget Caroline Herschel. She was there right at the beginning. I think it started for her as just the hired help for her brother, but she grew into it on her own.

Then there's Barbara Wilson and the women here on Cloudy Nights, to name a few. Women may not dominate the hobby but they're not unknown to it either.


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NeilMac
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bumm]
      #5624126 - 01/15/13 10:22 AM

Boils down to Astronomy can be technical and Girls are not into that I think.
Guys and their toys

Edited by NeilMac (01/15/13 10:23 AM)


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orion61

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Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5624131 - 01/15/13 10:25 AM

Quote:

Quote:

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.



Thats because your one of us not one of them Carol..ER..
that didn't sound right, I didn't mean.. um..
I think I'd better shut up now...


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hm insulators
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Reged: 01/22/07

Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5624136 - 01/15/13 10:29 AM

Quote:

Boils down to Astronomy can be technical and Girls are not into that I think.
Guys and their toys




As a Red Green DVD my mother recently gave me puts it, "We can't help it, we're men!"


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shawnhar
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5624203 - 01/15/13 11:14 AM

Quote:

Quote:

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




Let's see....I know how and do use a double boiler, not so much for fudge, but I do melt chocolate for use in desserts (tip...add a little butter to the chocolate for some very creamy texture). Last night, I made shrimp bordelaise. I also have an 8X8 rolloff observatory.

David



Everybody knows Coona...ummm Cajuns know how to cook!


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droid
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: shawnhar]
      #5624253 - 01/15/13 11:49 AM

Could als be because a lot of women have children to feed, bathe, get to bed , follwed by dishes, house cleaning, etc......and in my late wifes famous words, a husband to pick up after....after which she was too tired to stay out observing, lol.

And Carol,they sell the most gorgeous shade of purplelicious spray paint , just in case you ever want ot remake your scope.........lol


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: droid]
      #5624314 - 01/15/13 12:32 PM

Maybe because early telescopes looked like clubs?????

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nirvanix
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: droid]
      #5624315 - 01/15/13 12:32 PM

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.

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killdabuddha
Pooh-Bah
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: droid]
      #5624318 - 01/15/13 12:34 PM

It's the math. Everything in this has numbers. My wife won't look at anything without a name, forcing me to lie and for what? She re-names everything anyway.

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Seldom
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #5624328 - 01/15/13 12:40 PM

Quote:


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




Any possibility that in a repressive society like Iran's astronomy is one of the few acceptable social outlets where folks of both genders can meet? While I'm not a fan of Mullah's and female head gear, this would sure beat the US nightclub scene.


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killdabuddha
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5624333 - 01/15/13 12:44 PM

Quote:

clubs?????




Pick yer iconography. But if a club as wielded by our early ancestors, as Chesterton said, "How do we know she didn't deserve it?" (Not one of his better moments.)


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Seldom
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5624346 - 01/15/13 12:52 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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.




Better question, Carol. What would YOU consider would make a scope "lady friendly"?

I'm no lady, but it sure would be nice to be able to set up my dob in less than 20 minutes, have a better integrated and more durable wiring harness, and not have to collimate every night.


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dan_h
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5624362 - 01/15/13 01:01 PM

Quote:

I have always wondered why our beautiful Hobby is so heavily
slanted to Male dominated?





In two words:

Washroom facilities.

dan


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Kfrank
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Seldom]
      #5624423 - 01/15/13 01:34 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

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.




Better question, Carol. What would YOU consider would make a scope "lady friendly"?

I'm no lady, but it sure would be nice to be able to set up my dob in less than 20 minutes, have a better integrated and more durable wiring harness, and not have to collimate every night.




The vast majority of the responses to this thread have been by males and most of them have been the same claptrap you'd have heard a bunch of males say in answer to this question 20 years ago.

As to the above, the last dob I had took me about 5 minutes to set up and had no wiring harness to complicate things. And as for collimating, why I'm always hearing that it is so inconsequential that it bears no mention.

So, is the assertion that if a scope takes a bit of time to set up and needs to be collimated, a female is incapable? Or perhaps she's just too busy raising the kids to deal with it?

C'mon guys, we can certainly get a bit less chauvinistic here - or CAN we?


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Seldom]
      #5624463 - 01/15/13 01:51 PM

Quote:

Better question, Carol. What would YOU consider would make a scope "lady friendly"?




I don't feel that scopes are male or lady friendly; rather for which ever wants to use them! Ladies are quite capable of using the same scopes as men. The weight issue is about the only thing that is more difficult for females; but there's always ways to make that easier.

I'm enjoying a beautiful 16" dob in my very own observatory. Is the 16" not supposed to be used by me?

Frankly, until this thread, I've never considered a scope would be any different in either male or a female's hands. Perhaps this type of thread is what may cause other ladies to hesitate to buy a scope & enjoy the night skies.


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Kfrank
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5624504 - 01/15/13 02:17 PM

"Frankly, until this thread, I've never considered a scope would be any different in either male or a female's hands. Perhaps this type of thread is what may cause other ladies to hesitate to buy a scope & enjoy the night skies. "


BRAVO - You nailed it!!!!!


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Kfrank]
      #5624517 - 01/15/13 02:25 PM

Womenscopes are from Venus; Menscopes are from Mars.......

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kenrenard
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5624554 - 01/15/13 02:38 PM

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.

Raising two young daughters its an eyeopener to how backward some folks still are! I guess the more things change the more they stay the same.


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Kfrank
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5624555 - 01/15/13 02:38 PM

In an earlier posting, I asked this:

"C'mon guys, we can certainly get a bit less chauvinistic here - or CAN we?"

Quote:

Womenscopes are from Venus; Menscopes are from Mars.......




And I guess I have an answer.


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cadfour
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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
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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
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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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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

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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
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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
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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
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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

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [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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kenrenard
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5625763 - 01/16/13 08:37 AM

I know with our local club I am one of the youngest members and I'm 41. We do have a few kids who show up for big events my daughter being one of them. I think with instant gratification society as a whole doesn't value nature as much as previous generations. I know people who spend way to much time on facebook and twitter and almost ignore you while having a conversation. They are so distracted it would be difficult for them to spend time contemplating something small and dim that might take time to see.

My two year old screamed out look Daddy all those birds ( seeing a group of about 100 or so starlings fly overhead.) She was caught in the wonder of nature but several adults near by never looked up from their smartphone.

Some of my greatest lessons have been taught by a two year old!


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orion61

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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bunyon]
      #5625768 - 01/16/13 08:41 AM

Luv the tag Barb,
But I need my Palm read!
The Women are coming out of the woodwork now WooHoo


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David PavlichAdministrator
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5625790 - 01/16/13 08:54 AM

The age thing is definately there. In my case and I'm sure in a LOT of cases, I was interested in astronomy for a long time. However, life happens and astronomy gets put on the back burner. Fast forward, life has settled, kids have flown the coupe and now you have a little extra time and a little extra money. You start with a 60mm Meade refractor and then you end up with a rolloff roof in your backyard.

Our club is mostly older guys and the star parties that I've attended are pretty much the same.

David


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Achernar
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: BarbMoore]
      #5625826 - 01/16/13 09:15 AM

I gather you and your husband have his and her telescopes? I think it's great to have not only an undersanding spouse, but one who enjoys time under the stars as much as you do.

Taras


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5625842 - 01/16/13 09:25 AM

In the last year I think I've met two women who do astronomy. One had just bought a small mak as she said she was getting too old for the "heavy equipment" anymore. The other owns the local brick and morter telescope store...and a more knowledgeable lady I've never met...She really knows her stuff when it comes to equipment, and she is a very active observer and DAS member. Once or twice a month, her store has "Star Parties" where the set up their display scopes outside and let you try them out; or just come around and be sociable. Both are older than 50, like a lot of the rest of us. Sure glad to have that store there though; for those who don't have access to a brick and morter telescope store, you have my sincere sympathy. I imagine the space race had a lot to do with the interest of the baby boomer generation in astronomy. A Mars Mission, or a moon colony, or even commercial space airlines, might be the key to another generation of amateur astronomers...unfortunately, a select few seem more interested in shining searchlights into the sky or covering a river with cloth for "art".

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Feidb
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5625883 - 01/16/13 09:53 AM

Carol,

You're absolutely right! While there have always been a few women at our major events, the hobby has been overall male dominated but that doesn't make it a male hobby any more than any other pursuit.

I was a solo amateur for over 25 years and whenever I brought the subject up, I usually got blank stares or some comment about looking in someone's window. On the the other hand, when another male would ask me about sports I would give them the same blank stare I got asking about astronomy, as I have absolutely no interest in that. In fact, it's my wife that is interested in sports, football and NASCAR where to me, it's like watching paint dry.


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csa/montana
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Feidb]
      #5625885 - 01/16/13 09:57 AM

Quote:

the hobby has been overall male dominated but that doesn't make it a male hobby any more than any other pursuit.





Bingo!


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weezy
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5625900 - 01/16/13 10:06 AM

Some of the problem is male opinion. When I was looking for a scope - it was "get a dob" We have a reflector,and I didn't like it. I've since wound up with a 4"apo, PST, and the Orion 120ST.

I also don't make notes, write out an observing list, etc.
I like to hunt and just see what I can see.

There's nothing wrong with other hobbies. I do sew and quilt, but on the technical end. Uses more technology and control. Besides which, I don't like half the stuff sold in the stores. I also like color play.

I'm the IT dept around here - not my field, I have a degree in graphic design. But I will take up a challenge. My phone is a Nexus S - I got annoyed with Google, and rooted the phone. I'll run a ROM that suits me. I don't do entertainment or social, another reason to root. (In their place I have most of the astronomical apps)

I've found quite a few interesting downloads and can run them from a tablet via HDMI. BBC puts out quite a few.

The Vulcan, who has a degree in EE, built the reflector as a science fair project, can't even grab my phone without changing something on the screen. He pooh-poohed the Telrad when he first saw it, had trouble believing SkEye. I told him the phone and tablet did have GPS and gyros,but I had to get a technical explanation for him to understand it. He thought both devices were too small. He didn't realize that the tablet could do HDMI and has been enjoying Cosmos all over again. Once he figured out how to handle the touch screen.

Bigger isn't always better. What good is an 8" dob going to do me if I can't move it by myself? I can pick up what I have and enjoy it. I'd rather spend time looking than writing or dictating notes.

Right now, it's either frigid or cloudy.

I enjoy nature. I would have looked at those birds.


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bunyon]
      #5626015 - 01/16/13 11:12 AM

Quote:

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!).




So it's all your fault -- you're scaring them away! As it happens, the trend started just about 30 years ago. In the 1960s the hobby was full of young people.

Likewise, the circulation of Sky & Telescope increased every year until they hired me. After that, it's all been downhill ...

Quote:

I don't think definitive conclusions can be reached.




Agreed.

There's also definitely a tendency for people to take up stargazing when young, put it on hold while they're absorbed by kids and careers, and then resume when they have some leisure time. It's hard to guess how that will play out.

Tony Flanders
Associate Editor, Sky & Telescope


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Tom Polakis
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5626026 - 01/16/13 11:19 AM

Quote:

It is a time consuming hobby, younger observers have families and careers that take priority.




Jon, that argument comes up often in this discussion, but you need only look at photos from star parties as recently as the late 80's to realize that the median amateur astronomer age back then was 30-something. Younger observers had families and careers back then. Today the median age is 50-something. As Tony Flanders has pointed out, those who make their living with amateur astronomy know what the trend in the data looks like.

Back on topic, one thing that has not changed in the past few decades is the male dominance of the hobby.

Tom


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NeilMac
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #5626052 - 01/16/13 11:47 AM

I agree the age has changed. When i started in the late 70's it was the young, now its like average 50's.
However I think it also has to do with the community, it the UK their are towns were its very mixed and allot of youngsters.


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5626080 - 01/16/13 12:04 PM

"Right now, it's either frigid or cloudy."

and on that point, it doesn't matter what sex you are.......


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Carol L

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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5626101 - 01/16/13 12:25 PM

Quote:

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?




I don't believe i have, Jon. But as a lone wolf observer, i'm probably not qualified to answer that question. You see, there aren't any local clubs around here, and i don't go to star parties - my rural 40 acres has pretty dark skies and there's really no point in going elsewhere. Since getting into all this in the late '90s, my only contact with other Amateurs has been online and i've endured my share of sexist comments from male Amateurs (who never matured from the neck up ) but TBH, i can't really say i've encountered any artificial barriers.


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Achernar
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Feidb]
      #5626142 - 01/16/13 12:51 PM

You and me both, I can care less about sports and not just because they are for me about as fun as watching paint dry too. I know the true purpose of sports as we know them today, and it's nothing to do with sports. Why do you think the Romans had all the arenas from one end of the empire to the other? It's nice to know I am not the only one who feels that way. Most folks in my area think I came from outer space for that. I tell the local rednecks that astronomy is a lot like fishing, you never know what you can catch on a good night.

Taras


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BigC
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Achernar]
      #5626182 - 01/16/13 01:17 PM

Folks this is going to be political.

If you think about it,the population statistics of our nation are seriously skewed from what they might have been had people continued to follow the lifestyles of the previous generations.Think about what or who is missing and why.

What we have is proportionately fewer young people,but ones expecting much more in terms of instant gratification.

Ham radio holds little for a person accustomed from tender age to instant world-wide communication;likewise peering through a small scope at faint fuzzy objects holds little for those accustomed to seeing splashy multi-color Hubble or Keck photos.

The return doesn't seem worth the effort to many.Especially if there is little money or fame to be made.

Other traditional hobbies are also suffering:bowling alleys are closing, and skeet shooting and archery is practically nil in my area unlike their popularity in the 1960s.

Today peopl;e ,young and not-so-young, spend enormorous amounts of time playing with computers and video games. How many times and how many people have you seen walking head-down intent on manipulating tiny buttons on their personal portable oracle,the smartphone ?

I fear we are becoming a people who have more vicarious thrills than is good.


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NeilMac
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: BigC]
      #5626197 - 01/16/13 01:24 PM

True the population has been dumbed down that kids dont know were french fries come from, cant tell time unless its a digital clock and dont know when to laugh unless its got a laugh track on it.

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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5626210 - 01/16/13 01:34 PM

Not to mention if the register didn't tell them, they'd have no idea what change to give......

That being said, I've also ran into a lot of the opposite...young, smart people who actually do care about their job and providing customer service...We were in the mall the other day (and this isn't the first time) shopping and went into one of the stores. The lady (hard to not call them "girls" even though she was in her 20s, gettin' old tends to change how you label things...)had more metal in her ears, nose, lips, eyelids, and tongue then my car has. But she was one of the most polite and helpful people I've met in my 59 years. Just shows you can't judge a book by its cover....

To be truthful though, didn't our parents/grandparents feel/say the same thing about us??????????


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stmguy
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5626216 - 01/16/13 01:40 PM

Perhaps this quote from an article about Stellafane says something about our hobby

"Spouses aside, women are definitely in the minority at Stellafane. For all the bearded, Apollo-era men in attendance, it could pass for a convention of summering Santa Clauses. I spotted at least two men wearing red suspenders and shorts."

http://www.7dvt.com/2010stellafane

Norm


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uniondrone
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: stmguy]
      #5626295 - 01/16/13 02:25 PM

Quote:

For all the bearded, Apollo-era men in attendance, it could pass for a convention of summering Santa Clauses.






Hmmm... they might be on to something!


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Madratter
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: stmguy]
      #5626322 - 01/16/13 02:47 PM

I think it is pretty much socialization, not genetics. As as previously been mentioned, the hobby is full of old guys. And back when those old guys grew up, women weren't supposed to be good in math and science.

Also, my guess is that many women simply were taught it isn't safe to be outside at night by yourself. And because of that, they simply don't feel safe outside at night.

As for why young people aren't interested, many of them live in places where the sky is lit up and there aren't many stars to see. On top of that, what with the various planetary probes and the Hubble, it can be a hard sell as to why you should look through an eyepiece. To me, the view is incredibly beautiful, but I can certainly understand why others don't find it so.

For what it is worth, I have a daughter who loves Football. My sons tolerate it at best. I also have two nieces (both in their 20s) who were quite interested in seeing Jupiter with just their eyes. The same cannot be said of my nephews. Unfortunately, my nieces are not nearby, so I can't show them the view through my telescopes.


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roscoe
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: uniondrone]
      #5626342 - 01/16/13 02:57 PM

Well, as an old guy, I'm definitely from the era when science/math/trades was discouraged for women, and in the trades, it's changing, but slowly.
However, Aspergers' syndrome - the closest thing to a geek gene so far discovered, is much more prevalent in men than women, and while I come from a family of geeks - my sister's a programmer, and my niece is a machine designer - as was my Dad, there are very very few women who would admit to EVER wearing a pocket protector....... and while there are some notable exceptions (Even Sue French looks and acts like a normal person in daylight, and both Carols will come over and dope-slap me later today) I do think it's a boy-oriented techno thing. Medicine, while as techno as it gets, is still a healer-oriented thing, and chemistry and biology and the like echo a much more primitive time when women were the keepers of the plant lore.
And, the reason that it's mostly older folks is I think not only because of so many more toys and distractions, but also most of us over 50 could still see stars at night when we went outside when we were kids.
Russ


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5626385 - 01/16/13 03:21 PM

Quote:

As as previously been mentioned, the hobby is full of old guys. And back when those old guys grew up, women weren't supposed to be good in math and science.




Interesting point -- I hadn't thought of that. Without a doubt, the disproportionately small number of women in amateur astronomy is partly due to the fact that there are so few young people in the hobby. There's a huge difference in gender expectations between my generation and my daughter's generation.

Reading over the responses, and thinking that most of them ring at least partially true to me, I'm concluding that like so many things in life, there is no simple answer. Many different factors contribute to the phenomenon.

As for nature vs. nurture, no doubt nature plays a part. But trying to tease the two things apart is usually a waste of time.

It's sort of like cancer. Numerous studies prove that both genetic and environmental factors play a role -- together with plenty of dumb bad luck. And in any given case, it's simply not meaningful to ask if the cancer is due to genetics or environment.


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tom Polakis]
      #5626391 - 01/16/13 03:26 PM Attachment (20 downloads)

Quote:


Jon, that argument comes up often in this discussion, but you need only look at photos from star parties as recently as the late 80's to realize that the median amateur astronomer age back then was 30-something.




Tom:

One possible conclusion from that bit of information is that the median amateur astronomer age is higher. Another possible conclusion is that younger astronomers do not go to star parties. I think there is truth in both interpretations. I tend to think that astronomy is a hobby well suited for older folks who have the time and a more relaxed life style and at the same time, younger amateurs connect and share in ways other than star parties and clubs.

Myself, I hang out with a younger crowd. Part of this is because I work for a university and part of it is I connect with others amateurs in the ways younger observers do, the internet rather than clubs.

Jon

Edited by Jon Isaacs (01/16/13 03:30 PM)


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5626418 - 01/16/13 03:40 PM

Who's the crypt-keeper standing in the back row with the red shirt? He looks so much more "mature" then the others....couldn't possibly be Jon, could it?

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bunyon
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5626482 - 01/16/13 04:07 PM

"To be truthful though, didn't our parents/grandparents feel/say the same thing about us?????????? "

Yes. And the kids being disparaged today will do it to their grandkids. It's a time honored human tradition.

I work with a lot of young people (I teach at a university - by the way, I'm only 42, still young by amateur astronomy standards) and I can tell you that today's kids, like most kids before them, get a bad rap. They're interested in a wide variety of things and are finding their path. Some will eventually find their way into astronomy. I think more and more will become imagers due to the computer tie-in and lack of really dark skies but they'll come. Space and personal exploration are fundamental human interests. While the number of people "serious" about the hobby will never be high and may rise and fall cyclically, it will never go to zero.

That is, the hobby will look different 25 years from now than it does today but the hobby will still exist and people will be looking up with wonder. After all, the hobby today looks different than it did 25 years ago and 25 years ago it looked different than it did 25 years before that. Few make their own mirrors today. Few made their own EQ mounts 25 years ago. Etc.

One barrier to entry in the hobby I find is the amount of "advice" to keep doing things exactly the same. You must have this kind of scope, or observe these kind of objects or read this magazine or take these pictures. You must have a scope this big or an eyepiece that costs this much. Any such advice is generally a turn-off and, I think, smacks of machismo (at least when I say stuff like that is! ) that may have a greater effect turning away women who, by and large, don't go in for that mirror-measuring BS.

Anyway, that isn't all of it certainly, but perhaps it is some.


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bunyon]
      #5626509 - 01/16/13 04:20 PM

Our ancestor's were in awe of the night sky--it contained wonders...and monsters. We study the stars, we view them, take pictures, measurements, etc. Our children...will visit the stars (hopefully).

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Carol L

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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5626526 - 01/16/13 04:27 PM

Quote:

To be truthful though, didn't our parents/grandparents feel/say the same thing about us??????????




Mine certainly did!

In general, it seems that each generation feels that the ones who follow them are missing out on something - and from 'our' point of view, they are. But consider that kids have things at their fingertips nowadays that was sci-fi fantasy when we were young - how cool is that? Progress is marvelous and a bit frightening at the same time - makes me wonder what kind of miracles will be commonplace to children born 80 years from now.


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GeneT
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5626576 - 01/16/13 04:53 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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.




Guys, be careful. Some might be sent through Cloudy Night's EEO training.


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GeneT
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5626581 - 01/16/13 04:57 PM

Quote:

Science isn't as attractive to the ladies as it is to the guys.




Ooh--careful here.


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GeneT
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5626602 - 01/16/13 05:10 PM

Quote:

Who's the crypt-keeper standing in the back row with the red shirt? He looks so much more "mature" then the others....couldn't possibly be Jon, could it?




I like hanging around with young people too!


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GeneT
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5626608 - 01/16/13 05:14 PM

Quote:

i've endured my share of sexist comments from male Amateurs (who never matured from the neck up






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BarbMoore
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: droid]
      #5626687 - 01/16/13 05:54 PM

Actually, those photos were taken on the grounds of the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, NM during the annular eclipse. Those rockets were used out at White Sands Missile Range. The area is chock full of space history.

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BarbMoore
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Madratter]
      #5626694 - 01/16/13 06:00 PM

When my husband first showed me Saturn in our 8" Celestron, I insisted that we purchase a bigger telescope. I also found the Tak FS-102 for sale, bought it, and added it to our collection. We have also acquired an 8" Orion Dob that I mainly use to star hop and collect Messier objects to cross off the list.

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Tony Flanders
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5627060 - 01/16/13 09:36 PM

I asked my wife and daughter at supper tonight.

My daughter is convinced that it's mostly cultural. My wife and I agree, but think that's not the whole story.

My wife's very first word on the subject was "cold." There are plenty of women who do winter sports, but it's easy to stay warm when you're active.

And in the summer, mosquitoes. My wife hates insect repellant.

She also raised an obvious point that all other respondents here missed. Astronomy is done at night, and women with children are generally "on call" at night. Even in a household like ours where we theoretically divide all responsibilities equally, my wife ended up doing more of the parenting duties than I did.

I asked her about gadgets. Granted, my wife isn't necessarily typical in this regard. I remember her carrying on for days about a new drill bit that she had discovered, and all three of us love to visit hardware stores. When it comes to home repair, my wife is the brains, my daughter has the skill, and I get to lift, carry, and hold things.

She suggested that maybe men are more enthusiastic about spending money on gadgets. Then we simultaneously thought of kitchen appliances, and rejected that argument in a jiffy.

But we agreed that the discrepancy between the sexes is much bigger for telescopic astronomy than naked-eye astronomy. Many women are quite interested in and familiar with the constellations. And my wife definitely prefers using binoculars to looking through a telescope.

Edited by Tony Flanders (01/16/13 09:44 PM)


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Madratter
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5627131 - 01/16/13 10:15 PM

Quote:


But we agreed that the discrepancy between the sexes is much bigger for telescopic astronomy than naked-eye astronomy.







I talked about my nieces earlier. I was really surprised they were that enthusiastic about seeing Jupiter with the naked-eye.

I didn't mention that the one has a science degree and the other is an engineer.

Edited by Madratter (01/16/13 10:17 PM)


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aezoss
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5627437 - 01/17/13 04:55 AM

Quote:

women with children are generally "on call" at night




My wife said the same thing. We've done fairly well at balancing the on call rotation but let's face it, there is no substitute for Mom.

One thing she did mention was the current generation of girls (15-25) seems more adept at traditionally male activities and is less likely to accept the gender role definitions that may have had an impact on their mothers and/or grandmothers.

We see this with our own kids and their peers. There's very little differentiation between boy/girl roles, responsibilities and activities in their social circles. Girls rock as hard, if not harder than the boys. Nothing makes our girl happier than rolling up her sleeves and swinging a hammer, followed by having Dad paint her nails. The things we amateur estheticians, er fathers, have to do to spend time with our daughters.

Curiously, it's my wife and daughter who are enthusiastic about star parties and dragging me out to observatory open houses. Neither are particularly interested in spending more than a few minutes at a scope but love the broader context of astronomy and enjoy just being outside under the stars.

Lee


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Jon Isaacs
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5627504 - 01/17/13 06:47 AM

Quote:

But we agreed that the discrepancy between the sexes is much bigger for telescopic astronomy than naked-eye astronomy.




Certainly if one considers the number of observers, there is significant difference between the male and female observers but if you look at the population in general, that is the percentage of males who are observers and the percentage of females who are observers, the numbers are almost identical, essentially zero. My point is that when it comes to attitudes and interest, the vast majority of men and the vast majority of women are identical, not sufficiently interested.

When percentages are so small, it is difficult to generalize why people do get involved because the obvious conclusion is that very few are actually interested, men or women.

To be interested and involved in amateur astronomy, is a very rare thing. In your household, how much interest would the other family members have if you were not a passionate observer?

Jon


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5627562 - 01/17/13 08:00 AM

Quote:

In your household, how much interest would the other family members have if you were not a passionate observer?




My wife owned H.A. Rey's The Stars, Chet Raymo's 365 Starry Nights, and Fred Hoyle's Astronomy long before we met. Like every nature lover that I've met, she was familiar with the major constellations and eager to learn more.

She certainly wouldn't have taken up telescopic astronomy on her own; she has too many competing interests. Given her 'druthers, she would rather be dancing at night.

It's meaningless to ask about my daughter; she wouldn't be who she is if she didn't have us as parents.


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Meadeball
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5628017 - 01/17/13 12:40 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 ...

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mark8888
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Meadeball]
      #5628050 - 01/17/13 12:56 PM

Quote:

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




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: Im 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.


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: mark8888]
      #5628064 - 01/17/13 01:03 PM

"There are a lot of crazy astronomers out there..."

There's another kind????


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Mary
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5628167 - 01/17/13 02:10 PM

I didn't get into astronomy until my son was grown and living on his own. It wasn't until then that I had a hobby to call my own and the time to do it. It is very hard when you are working and raising a family. I would get home from work and there would be dinners to fix, dishes to wash, Scout meetings or outings, music lessons, band practices or performances, parent/teacher conferences, homework, fundraising at football games or bingo halls and other household chores or OT at work. There just wasn't time. However, now looking back, it would have been wonderful to have spent a few minutes in the yard with him when he was younger to just enjoy some one on one time with him and letting him command the scope before heading off to bed. It would have been a great way to relieve the day's stress before begining another.

Mary


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Mary]
      #5628174 - 01/17/13 02:16 PM

"It would have been a great way to relieve the day's stress before begining another."

THAT is what draws me to the hobby. When I'm alone with the universe, I'm at peace.


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kenrenard
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5628216 - 01/17/13 02:42 PM

Quote:

"It would have been a great way to relieve the day's stress before begining another."

THAT is what draws me to the hobby. When I'm alone with the universe, I'm at peace.





I think we can all agree (Male, Female, Black, White, Young, and Old) Viewing the universe is a very peaceful activity for all.


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panhardModerator
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5628229 - 01/17/13 02:49 PM

Quote:

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.


I'll take it off your hands.

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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: panhard]
      #5628254 - 01/17/13 03:04 PM

I blame it on Tim Allen.......MORE POWWWWEEEERRRRRR!!

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panhardModerator
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: panhard]
      #5628261 - 01/17/13 03:06 PM

In the last 3 years we have had 3 women join our club. That makes a total of 5. That is about 20% of the membership.

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Vesper818
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5630380 - 01/18/13 06:41 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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.




busted!..





FWIW, Maybe some of it is caution being out alone at night., just not safe for a woman unless you are in your own back yard.I rarely observe elsewhere, except on vacations, but still have a grand time.


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Danzup77
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Vesper818]
      #5630418 - 01/18/13 07:08 PM

Id say because theres not as many who are into it......If there were there would be more. Theres no shortage of female hockey players, runners, hikers etc....the list goes on and on. Sure when they look through my scope theyre exited, but not enough to spend the money and time. There are those who DO obviously but its like racing and shooting. Sure theres some into it that take it to the level of "hobby" but for the most part there just arent that many that WANT to take it to that level. Theres not many men in cheerleading because were just not into it....not to say there arent men involved, just not many.

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Danzup77
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Danzup77]
      #5630428 - 01/18/13 07:13 PM

I WILL say though, my fiancees 7 year old daughter just got her 1st little refractor for Christmas and she hasn't stopped bugging me to take it outside yet. She always says she wants to look at space like her Danny does haha.....When she saw the moon once she even pointed out, "I can only see part of the moon tonight" haha......so far so good!!!

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BarbMoore
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Vesper818]
      #5630495 - 01/18/13 07:48 PM

Some of us women carry a firearm with us when we're out observing. I feel perfectly safe when I'm out observing alone at night.


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orion61

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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: BarbMoore]
      #5630544 - 01/18/13 08:24 PM

I am happily surprised with the turnout of Lady members
to this thread!... I didn't know you all were out there.
I feel like that old Dragnet show Dumb Da Dumb Dumb!


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bigstormgirl
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5631172 - 01/19/13 08:55 AM

Very interesting thread. Most of my hobbies are male dominated, but that doesn't bother me and never really thought about the "why". I do what I like and enjoy and really never think about the men vs women ratio. I'm also into model railroading. Talk about a male dominated hobby!

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

Edited by bigstormgirl (01/19/13 08:56 AM)


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bigstormgirl]
      #5631507 - 01/19/13 12:45 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 )


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mich_al
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bigstormgirl]
      #5631826 - 01/19/13 04:18 PM

Quote:

Very interesting thread. Most of my hobbies are male dominated, but that doesn't bother me and never really thought about the "why". I do what I like and enjoy and really never think about the men vs women ratio. I'm also into model railroading. Talk about a male dominated hobby!

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




I see the world becoming more accepting of the convergence of masuline and feminine interests/roles. That said, it's easier for a woman to delve into 'man' hobbies then the other way around. A girl that races motocross stands out a lot less than a guy who sewes and knits.


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mmclure
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: mich_al]
      #5632230 - 01/19/13 09:16 PM

Quote:

Guys like to eat too....and some of us learned to cook.




Interestingly enough, restaurant kitchens have traditionally been very much male dominated.

Personally, I learned to knit when I was young, although I haven't done it in many years. However, I keep hearing this little voice in my head telling me to buy a sewing machine.


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NeilMac
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: mmclure]
      #5632962 - 01/20/13 10:56 AM

I just got a new sewing machine as a present a couple months ago, and my first project is my night cloak for observing. made another one higher end for a Christmas present for sister. Now working on little projects here and their

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bigstormgirl
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5633217 - 01/20/13 01:26 PM

That's cool Neil. I was always lousy at sewing, even though the women in my family sewed.

Forgot to mention my welding job. Maybe that's why I never really thought about the male dominance in astronomy since everything thing I do, whether work or play, I'm surrounded by men.


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StarStuff1
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bigstormgirl]
      #5633424 - 01/20/13 03:30 PM

OK, sexist remarks here but all true. I got back into astronomy in 1980. My then wife could have cared less altho she did buy me a nice asto book for a birthday present. We divorced a couple of years later. Astronomy had nothing to do with it.

For 13 years I was single. Most women I dated seemed interested in my hobby, at least for a while. The woman I eventually married was also very interested, at first. We even got married in a planetarium. Then her career came first and foremost. To her credit she does not even try to dissuade me from my astro adventures. She will go outside to look at a bright comet...and how often does that occur?

Mea culpa, one of the most serious and dedicated amateur astronomers I know is female. Our astro club is about 20% female. At last june's Venus transit outreach around 2000 people showed up. About as many ladies as there were gents and a lot of kids sprinkled in.

The unique thing about being an astronomer: no one owns the originals but anyone can view them if they take the time and effort to do so. The stars do not discriminate due to sex, race, religion, etc.


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Mary B
Vendor - Echo Astronomy and Electronics
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: StarStuff1]
      #5633560 - 01/20/13 05:00 PM

Another male dominated hobby is shooting, I show up at the range and get stares as I unload. Part of that may be the WWII Russian rifles I collect...

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bumm
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Mary B]
      #5633634 - 01/20/13 05:38 PM

Sewing... About the closest I come to sewing is patching up my winter coat with one of those "Awl for All" leather sewing tools, but my wife likes to sew, and I wind up fixing some of her old sewing machines. That effort got me to join a sewing newsgroup she belongs to looking for info on that, where I go by "greasemonkey."

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bumm
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Mary B]
      #5633647 - 01/20/13 05:46 PM

Quote:

Another male dominated hobby is shooting, I show up at the range and get stares as I unload. Part of that may be the WWII Russian rifles I collect...




I like to shoot, and the ladies are all VERY welcome at the free public range I go to. I think the guys see it as not only pleasant company, but broader support for the 2nd Amendment. (Don't mean to get political here, but... well, it's TRUE...)


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dennyhenke
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bumm]
      #5634665 - 01/21/13 10:32 AM

This is a great thread and I'm still reading through it but wanted to post something that I think folks here will find very inspiring! A member of our newly formed local group, the Eastern Ozarks Astronomical Society, has blogged her recent foray into astronomy. Of special note, she has some delightful daughters that are all taking a real interest in astronomy... I've been nicknamed the Star Guy thanks to their field trip out to my place in November... I had the honor of showing them all Jupiter for their first time.

In any case, she's not just diving into the visual aspect of astronomy but all of the science as well. I think you all will greatly appreciate her humor and her detailed thoughts: http://homeschoolblogger.com/daisyblend/2013/01/20/astronomical-scattershooting


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kenrenard
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: dennyhenke]
      #5634733 - 01/21/13 11:09 AM

Denny that's a good post. It's fun to show kids anything. They are really honest with what they see. Good Luck with your new Group.

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droid
rocketman
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: kenrenard]
      #5634816 - 01/21/13 12:07 PM

Read several of her posts, also book marked her page.
Good blog, and can you pm me your fb page she mentioned???


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Tori
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Reged: 01/10/12

Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bumm]
      #5636332 - 01/22/13 07:32 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Another male dominated hobby is shooting, I show up at the range and get stares as I unload. Part of that may be the WWII Russian rifles I collect...




I like to shoot, and the ladies are all VERY welcome at the free public range I go to. I think the guys see it as not only pleasant company, but broader support for the 2nd Amendment. (Don't mean to get political here, but... well, it's TRUE...)




I have yet to find an astronomy gathering or gun shop or show or range where I have not felt welcome, if I am able to ignore the stares. Luckily they don't really bother me, but I know they bother some of my female friends.

And when they find out that I'm REALLY into astronomy or guns they all get even friendlier, to the point where they could make some women really uncomfortable. They don't mean any harm but sometimes it's a little much.

I'm sure there are misogynistic gun shops/ranges, but luckily I haven't found them.

Like someone said above, if I'm out alone looking at the stars I carry as well.


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t.r.
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tori]
      #5636369 - 01/22/13 08:15 AM

Quote:

have yet to find an astronomy gathering or gun shop or show or range where I have not felt welcome, if I am able to ignore the stares. Luckily they don't really bother me, but I know they bother some of my female friends.




Tori, ever watch "The Big Bang Theory"? As Leonard said to Penny in one episode..."Don't worry. They're more scared of you than you are of them".


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ErixAdministrator
Toad Lily
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5636681 - 01/22/13 11:23 AM

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.






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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Erix]
      #5636760 - 01/22/13 12:09 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).


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roscoe
curmudgeon
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Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5637767 - 01/22/13 09:06 PM

Quote:

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




Yeah, you'd think green laser pointers alone would have brought the boys out!

And, to mirror Tori's comment, I financed my college education making backpacking and mountaineering clothing and equipment, and for several years, sewed really large kites, and in a reverse scenario, it often visibly creeped out the ladies in the fabric store that I was the only guy in there, looking all shaggy mountain-man and all...... I guess it's purely a guy thing, though, to get all goofy friendly, I never once got hit on at the thread rack........

Oh yeah, my Sister and Bro-in law are both serious competition shooters, the guys at her regular range all know her, but it's pretty amazing to watch other guys' faces when she nonchalantly drops six rounds through the same hole in a target......they seldom get all goofy, because they're way too humiliated that a 62-year-old grandmother-looking lady just totally out-shot 'em!

Russ


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tecmageModerator
Carpal Tunnel
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5637798 - 01/22/13 09:22 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?"

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. One of the other guys bought his own scope. The third one is interested in AP.


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faackanders2
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: tecmage]
      #5637832 - 01/22/13 09:43 PM

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).


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: faackanders2]
      #5638386 - 01/23/13 08:19 AM

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



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hm insulators
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Reged: 01/22/07

Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5638812 - 01/23/13 12:14 PM

Quote:

"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 )




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.


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: hm insulators]
      #5638815 - 01/23/13 12:18 PM

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

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


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Asbytec
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5638823 - 01/23/13 12:22 PM

Quote:

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






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


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csa/montana
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #5638880 - 01/23/13 12:55 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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






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




I sit while observing.


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5638900 - 01/23/13 01:04 PM

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

Edited by csrlice12 (01/23/13 01:04 PM)


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Asbytec
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5638908 - 01/23/13 01:08 PM

Quote:

I sit while observing.




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

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.

Edited by Asbytec (01/23/13 01:17 PM)


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lcaldero
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #5640140 - 01/24/13 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.


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: lcaldero]
      #5640152 - 01/24/13 08:08 AM

Quote:

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?

Quote:

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.


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Asbytec
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: lcaldero]
      #5640378 - 01/24/13 10:38 AM

Quote:

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...


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JMW
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Asbytec]
      #5641187 - 01/24/13 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.


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StarStuff1
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: JMW]
      #5646546 - 01/27/13 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.


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Joe Bergeron
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: mark8888]
      #5648845 - 01/28/13 05:55 PM

Quote:

Quote:

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




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: Im 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.


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rflinn68
Carpal Tunnel


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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5649974 - 01/29/13 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.org/wiki/Henrietta_Swan_Leavitt


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vsteblina
sage


Reged: 11/05/07

Loc: Wenatchee, Washington
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: lcaldero]
      #5650090 - 01/29/13 11:26 AM

Quote:

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.


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Carol L

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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: rflinn68]
      #5650129 - 01/29/13 11:44 AM

Quote:

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






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


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rflinn68
Carpal Tunnel


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Loc: Arkansas
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5650139 - 01/29/13 11:49 AM

Quote:

Quote:

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






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".


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Carol L

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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: rflinn68]
      #5650192 - 01/29/13 12:21 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

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






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...


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Tori
sage


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Loc: Somerville, MA/Warren, NH
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: rflinn68]
      #5650676 - 01/29/13 04:22 PM

Quote:

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!


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bumm
sage


Reged: 01/07/11

Loc: Iowa
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tori]
      #5651292 - 01/29/13 10:22 PM

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


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roscoe
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5651655 - 01/30/13 06:25 AM

Quote:

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


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: roscoe]
      #5651768 - 01/30/13 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".....


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: rflinn68]
      #5651791 - 01/30/13 08:37 AM

Quote:

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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steveyo
super member


Reged: 03/13/12

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5651855 - 01/30/13 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>


Edited by steveyo (01/30/13 04:25 PM)


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MikeBOKC
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: steveyo]
      #5652117 - 01/30/13 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 . . .

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smallscopefanLeo
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Reged: 01/23/11

Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5652623 - 01/30/13 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.

Edited by smallscopefanLeo (01/30/13 04:25 PM)


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steveyo
super member


Reged: 03/13/12

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: smallscopefanLeo]
      #5652644 - 01/30/13 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.


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smallscopefanLeo
sage
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: steveyo]
      #5652652 - 01/30/13 04:11 PM

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

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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: smallscopefanLeo]
      #5653082 - 01/30/13 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


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tecmageModerator
Carpal Tunnel
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5653134 - 01/30/13 08:07 PM

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

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orion61

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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: tecmage]
      #5654117 - 01/31/13 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


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astro_baby
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/17/08

Loc: United Kingdom
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: mark8888]
      #5654337 - 01/31/13 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.


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Crow Haven
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/09/09

Loc: Oregon USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5654644 - 01/31/13 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.

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!
---Maya


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astro_baby
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/17/08

Loc: United Kingdom
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Crow Haven]
      #5654764 - 01/31/13 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.


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Joe Bergeron
Vendor - Space Art


Reged: 11/10/03

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5654819 - 01/31/13 06:10 PM

CN really needs a "Like" button.

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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5654933 - 01/31/13 07:35 PM



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


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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5655143 - 01/31/13 09:49 PM







Quote:

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!


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: BigC]
      #5655332 - 01/31/13 11:39 PM

Quote:

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





There is; build an observatory around them.


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bunyon
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 10/23/10

Loc: Winston-Salem, NC
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: orion61]
      #5655864 - 02/01/13 09:14 AM

Quote:

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.


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kcolter
sage
*****

Reged: 06/04/03

Loc: Missouri, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: bunyon]
      #5655936 - 02/01/13 09:42 AM

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

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mark8888
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/24/10

Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: kcolter]
      #5655967 - 02/01/13 09:51 AM

Quote:

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




LOL


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Carol L

*****

Reged: 07/05/04

Loc: Tomahawk, WI 45N//89W
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5656140 - 02/01/13 11:06 AM

Quote:

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.

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.


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MikeBOKC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/10/10

Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5656238 - 02/01/13 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.

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csrlice12
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5656300 - 02/01/13 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)???????


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Carol L

*****

Reged: 07/05/04

Loc: Tomahawk, WI 45N//89W
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5656482 - 02/01/13 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. 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.

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astro_baby
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/17/08

Loc: United Kingdom
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5656505 - 02/01/13 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


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Crow Haven
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/09/09

Loc: Oregon USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5656824 - 02/01/13 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.


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Achernar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Crow Haven]
      #5656933 - 02/01/13 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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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Achernar]
      #5656969 - 02/01/13 07:00 PM

Quote:

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




This is what was in my mind to reply to Maya; however Taras, you put it so eloquently, that your post bears repeating!


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Crow Haven
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/09/09

Loc: Oregon USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5657019 - 02/01/13 07:37 PM

Agreed, Carol I understand what both Taras and you experience while hunting for and discovering DSOs. There is an amazing feeling to finding and viewing these mysterious objects which hold so many secrets so far back in time and space. I do find it relaxing as well just to meander among the stars. I come away from it somehow feeling renewed.

The "hunting" aspect of it is interesting...could this be more appealing to men than some women? Although ladies certainly can "hunt" as well.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
*****

Reged: 05/14/05

Loc: montana
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Crow Haven]
      #5657032 - 02/01/13 07:46 PM

Maya; speaking for myself, I look at it more as "discovering", rather than hunting, even though in reality we do "hunt" down the objects we want to see. I know that seems like just a play of words; but when I "discover" one of the wonders of the sky, I'm so excited, that it's a good thing no one is around, as I catch myself exclaiming outloud, "Wow", etc.

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Carol L

*****

Reged: 07/05/04

Loc: Tomahawk, WI 45N//89W
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Crow Haven]
      #5657332 - 02/01/13 11:07 PM

Quote:

What is it that keeps all of you doing visual astronomy when all those incredible astrophotos are available?




The photos are nice, but for me they're impersonal.
Exploring the night sky visually is like getting a soul-massage.


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droid
rocketman
*****

Reged: 08/29/04

Loc: Conneaut, Ohio
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5657619 - 02/02/13 06:25 AM

Hey I remember yahoo groups.....lol

They werent all bad......

and honestly some of the best observers I know are women, Carol L was the one who told me about cloudy nights.


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Tony Flanders
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Crow Haven]
      #5657638 - 02/02/13 06:55 AM

Quote:

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.




For what it's worth, astrophysics has never been closely tied to observational astronomy. Its roots lie in spectroscopy, which is fundamentally different from visual observing. A fair number of professional astronomers started out as stargazers, but definitely less than half.

Astrophysics is much more closely tied to mathematics than observing.

Quote:

Is there less interest in observational astronomy for women (and men)due in part to those gorgeous astrophotos easily available to most everyone?




In general, the internet and electronic communiction has caused a precipitous decline in what I might call reality-based activities. For instance, visitorship to National Parks is way down.

A related phenomenon is that I rarely see a young person -- and increasingly older people too -- walking down the street and not talking on a cell phone. Or often a couple walking down the street both talking on their cell phones. Why are they so eager to divorce their minds from what their bodies are experiencing?


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NeilMac
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/25/10

Loc: MedHat, AB, Canada
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Carol L]
      #5657997 - 02/02/13 11:57 AM

Quote:

Quote:

What is it that keeps all of you doing visual astronomy when all those incredible astrophotos are available?




The photos are nice, but for me they're impersonal.
Exploring the night sky visually is like getting a soul-massage.




i agree nothing replaces direct sight however having pictures of what one has seen is a great way of reminding me of whats out their.Not having photographic memory, i place my pics on the desktop background, not others.


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astro_baby
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 06/17/08

Loc: United Kingdom
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5658270 - 02/02/13 02:29 PM

I seldom look at pics and to me it all seems a bit pointless spending a ton of money and hours in front of a PC to take a pic that lots of other people have done and which, come the crunch, is always done better by NASA or ESA.

The whole picture thing leaves me cold, mostly because I would hate to have to sit in front of a PC more than I already do.

To me the observing is more important. Yes it wont as impressive a view of the sights but ai will be diectly experiencing it. Its the difference between having a pic of the Eiffel tower and being there in in Paris seeing it for myself.

But its also more than that. I like to be out, having a cup of coffee under a canopy of stars, i like the night air, the peace and quiet. I think of it more as communing with the cosmos and helps to put all my earthly worries to one side.

I am a little bit Zen in that respect. To me its about setting up, having a place for everything and everything to its place. The scopes are alwaus lovingly handled. Set up with a calm, quiet precision and then used to experience the wonders of the universe directly. To me it almost doesnt matter what I observe. I dont pretend to be scientific about it. Its beyond that its me on a lonely hillsside enjoying the views. Sometimes I stand back from the scope while I sip my coffee and just marvel at the view with my eyes. Sometimes I wonder of someone like me is looking up from a planet orbiting one of the small dots I am seeing and also wondering.

The female urge to nurture is very much a part of this. The equipment is cared for, prepared, cleaned and always immaculate. At the end of every session the equipment is packed away and once home checked, allowed to clear in a warm room and carefully packed away again.

Periodically its cleaned, checked over etc.

Sorry, too much of vino collapso tonite. Thats all a bit personal but maybe explains this girls attitudes to astronomy.

By contrast ai often see guys who seem to make it a race, a competition, a fight for who can do a Messier marathon. Who cares woud be my response, its beautiful up there and ai dont want to race, compete or bring the hassles of everyday life into it. I want peace and quiet and calm not another competition.

I do outreach when I can and I like to show others some of the wonders, that comes down to the nurturing element.

Remember the old saw that patience is a virtue, catch it if you can, seldom in a woman, never in a man. Well women have patience thats for sure and one thing the hobby always needs is a bucket full of patience especially here in the UK right now as we head into almost three straight months of cloud


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killdabuddha
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/26/11

Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5658359 - 02/02/13 03:27 PM

Astronomy is also the first science, and everyone knows that man came first, so it's only natural that astronomy would be male-dominated. As for the nurturing and Zen aspects, there are more men doin outreach and bein lone sky-adventurers/canopy-embracers than women. Now that I think of it, given the male dominance of astronomy I honestly can't find any quarter from which a woman can even speak to the question. Women also aren't very logical and will often commit the fallacy from faulty generalization with things like, "Women are patient and men aren't," compounding the difficulty by only mustering an informal fallacy where a formal one is posited and by having to recruit other lesser fallacies such as, in this case, the argumentum ad populum, the definist fallacy, reification, the psychologist's fallacy, ignoratio elenchi, the Ludic fallacy and, even if it WERE true that women are more patient than men, the fallacy of cum hoc ergo propter hoc, etc., etc. But we love you anyway, enuf even to partake of the apple and die to our own superiority. Little consolation that we men are burdened with sound logic as a mere residue and consequence of A woman us[ing] her intelligence to find reasons to support her intuition.

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Crow Haven
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/09/09

Loc: Oregon USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: NeilMac]
      #5658380 - 02/02/13 03:41 PM

Carol and Carol L. -- I'm right with you!

I do get very inspired by the beautiful astrophotos others share with us. Even though I know my telescope's DSOs view is different from these they still inspire me to want to find them myself and experience viewing them "for real." I'm always just amazed -- both that I found them and by today's knowledge of what they are and contain.

I'm a casual "backyard" astronomy enthusiast. I come at it from an appreciation of not only what we learn from it but the beauty, in an artistic sense, which enthralls me.

So many on these forums have far far greater knowledge than I! The discussions on various topics fly well over my head at times, but I enjoy "listening" in to hear the views...to learn. CN is valuable and inspiring to me. I also find astronomy books and magazines a real boon for the same reason. Exposure to astronomy through various media is key. Maybe women get less of that?

There's no local club here so I just do my own thing. In the few clubs I have been part of the outreach programs were wonderful, and one of them even helped to inspire a high school to build an observatory for its students. Outreach can inspire so many to wade in and discover what astronomy can offer them. It provides the chance, not only for women, but all to get a start in enjoying the hobby.

Digital media certainly is here to stay and is as useful as we want it to be. Another CN thread brings up the worry of how long print media will survive and whether digital format is better...I don't know. Communication rules, one way or another. Digital format works but, for myself, I've found it far more likely I'll investigate a topic in depth that I've laid my eyes on in a magazine or book I come across. Which brings to mind, I rarely see the astro magazines in shops, offices, libraries -- too few copies are floating around! I think if more were out there people would notice and get interested in astronomy through just this casual contact. Those incredible astrophotos do help catch the attention. I don't know how this would be done, though, considering the cost...so digital access will probably dominate over time.

My perspective on cell phone use is skewed since out here in "the sticks" I haven't felt the need for a smart phone, and truly, I rarely even use the basic cell phone I have. I don't text or use a voice mail and I'm still using dial-up... so I don't have an understanding of why there's nearly continual use of cell phones (I've seen couples in restaurants both spending most of their time talking on their phones instead of being present with each other). Is it time and distance/busy jobs getting in the way of people staying in touch? It certainly looks odd when cell phone use dominates over "in person" communication. We're loosing and gaining simultaneously here?

Anyway, just my 2 cents...sorry for veering off-topic!


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tubehead999
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/25/08

Loc: Kennesaw, GA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5658384 - 02/02/13 03:44 PM

Geez dude....Perpetuating the late 1800's attitude toward women, who, BTW, are WAY more intelligent than we ever thought about being....when you can admit that, then you are as smart as they are .

Then you throw the religious symbolism in to justify the rest of the post?

The ladies on the forum are still in shock at your post.....and so am I.


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killdabuddha
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/26/11

Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: tubehead999]
      #5658571 - 02/02/13 05:34 PM

LOL. TY tubehead for pointing out the obvious. Not only was I bein tongue-in-cheeky, but I also committed summa the most egregious fallacies known to man AND woman. But if I'm gonna be called on my bluff and forced to reduce the question to sumthin literal/meaningful, then I'll admit to bein more feminine than 90% of you guys and maybe many of you girls. Oh well...so much for readin b/t the lines. BUT, and more to my purposes, yer Victorian reference should at least raise sum flags...e.g., what kinda "civilization," for all of its "progress," produces these kinda absurdities, and what are the foundations thereof? I mean, we're talkin about life and death things here, and things even more important, to whom the speakers for which we've sold ourselves wholesale. Good god, man. I'd venture that the women here saw thru me better than you, which is ok, cuz at least yer makin yer own point, which is a good one. I was doin the same thing earlier when I said that men were better at math, which we know was true but that well was poisoned, because we tried to prevent/discourage girls in math because we believed such to be true. Gotta nuther belief? My specialty is disabusing folk of their notions.

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Crow Haven
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/09/09

Loc: Oregon USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5658659 - 02/02/13 06:17 PM

Interesting tactic?

Progress and civilization...the good ol' bad ol' days...goes great with a stake... Sorry, I haven't got time to go there again, to launch off-topic and become, "The Thread Killer."

I'm interested in ideas which can encourage others to explore astronomy -- as a hobby or more. Any other ideas or stories to relate of things that help? Maybe some here can carry these with them to share and improve in outreach efforts.


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tubehead999
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 11/25/08

Loc: Kennesaw, GA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5658756 - 02/02/13 07:19 PM

Yeah..I am a literal dude ......I didn't say literate...literal...

Egalitarianism seemed to be missing from this thread...if one reads between the lines on a number of these posts; it is reminiscent of the good old boy country club set. Not all of course....but enough to surprise.

And we wonder why we can't attract more folks to the hobby, especially women?

And yes, it has been proven to my satisfaction many times that the female of any species is more intelligent than the male.

Man has to know his limitations....


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roscoe
curmudgeon
*****

Reged: 02/04/09

Loc: NW Mass, inches from VT
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5658901 - 02/02/13 08:45 PM

Quote:

By contrast I often see guys who seem to make it a race, a competition, a fight for who can do a Messier marathon. Who cares would be my response, its beautiful up there and I dont want to race, compete or bring the hassles of everyday life into it. I want peace and quiet and calm not another competition.





I've had a scope or two around for about 50 years, and still haven't completed my Messier list........and can't say as I try very hard. My observational style is usually to just pick an area of sky and scan around, looking for cool things, could be clusters or galaxies or doubles or....whatever, and if I'm curious, pull the numbers off my circles and look on a chart to see what it is I discovered. I can certainly find, and usually visit, the 'top ten' any night, and will show them to anyone who's interested, but usually, it's just me and the peace and quiet of the night, star-gazing.

Russ


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killdabuddha
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Crow Haven]
      #5659070 - 02/02/13 10:56 PM

Quote:

Interesting tactic?

Progress and civilization...the good ol' bad ol' days...goes great with a stake... Sorry, I haven't got time to go there again, to launch off-topic and become, "The Thread Killer."

I'm interested in ideas which can encourage others to explore astronomy -- as a hobby or more. Any other ideas or stories to relate of things that help? Maybe some here can carry these with them to share and improve in outreach efforts.




No tactic. And the discussion of the history of civilization is exactly on point with the OP's question. Maybe you'd like a rundown of all the contributions to astronomy made by women who were otherwise banned from so many universities' science curricula until recently? The short answer to the OP's question is that for the last 5,000 years everything has been male-dominated outside of the home. The wisdom of the mother goddess was supplanted by the force of better weapons, such that, even as recently as Rome, Dionysian ritual was suppressed and eventually eradicated at the point of a spear. Direct participation and experience in the mysteries was supplanted by "reason" and authority vis a vis dead letters on a page. (In fact, this is the message of the grail legend, epitomized in the duel between the Muslim and the Christian jousting on horseback. Christianity won the day but was itself mortally wounded by castration in the contest, which is to say that it no longer had the generative force of its source, which was nature. Funny thing about nature, reality and life--it refuses to be bound in a book. And yes, it's the womb and not the seed that originally and better represented this power.) AUTHORity is a fiction. Just ask an AUTHOR. Encourage others into astronomy all you want. I do. But a discussion as to why there aren't more women in it is in no way detrimental to that interest. My own humble opinion is that we've accepted the symbol for the THING, words for reality, and we're payin the price. The history of civilization, and therefore of astronomy as we know it, is one of conquest, control and subjugation by edict (word) and allegiance (idea). Remember Galileo? When Columbus or Cortez stumbled upon the Americas they had for their authority and right the written word, and that was it. Well, that, subterfuge, "Guns, Germs and Steel," and a few other "advantages." But behind it all had to be the will to conquer and possess, and yes, insofar as there are differences between men and women, men, or at least a select few of them, have this trait in spades over women. There are, and will continue to be, more women in it, count on that, and it's only taken 5,000 years of "progress" and promise to get us there. Interest in astronomy, on a personal basis, doesn't usually (ever?) come about because somebody else had an idea as to how to involve them in sumthin for which they have no inclination, unless yer John Dobson. Then again, the only thing he did was to make available sumthin to which people had never been exposed. But then as now, and especially given our current educational crisis and its budgetary constraints, astronomy will continue to be the luxury that it is and most kids who are gonna be people one day (sorry--couldn't resist) will still never have been exposed, unless the astronomy community finds a creative way to put a scope in every school, and that really wouldn't be difficult. I'm also with tubehead and have said as much when welcoming the rare female newcomer to CN. Sometimes it smells like a sweat sock in here, especially when posts have that authoritative, impersonal, unimaginative masculine ring to them. But yeah, it IS the word and the idea that has so long controlled much of who does what, so we shouldn't rely on these when it's inspiration that's needed, and a genuine regard for others. And neither men nor women have a monopoly on that.


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azure1961p
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5659101 - 02/02/13 11:15 PM



I truly truly wonder if its because guys in general are more prone to find these kinds of pursuits and not be because they are necessarily expressions of virility or male ego, but just the chemistry of the male mind.

Am I wrong or are most sports and hobbies male dominated even if its 60%? Even skiing and scuba is primarily male.

Pete

Edited by azure1961p (02/02/13 11:18 PM)


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orion61

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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5659395 - 02/03/13 06:25 AM

Quote:

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.



Try carrying a 12" LX200 50 yards from your car to your viewing site.. Isn't there a show where guys carry big rocks and stuff around? LOL
And how many of those He Men would brave a swarm of Africanized Mosquitoes?


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astro_baby
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5659402 - 02/03/13 06:41 AM

And most hobbies like needlework, cooking, knitting, lacemaking, embroidery, quiltmaking plus keep fit like aerobics, yoga, pilates are female dominated

The sports thing probably stems from ancient Greece where the Spartans, the eventual top dogs, ran a very fascist and anti femme culture.

Women have alwas played a big role in science, although their contributions have often been run down or sidelined by the male patriarchy.

Marie Curie is the big one but look at poole old Rosalind Franklin, completely mis represented by the male dominated science arena for many years and seen as a harridan and harp just because she wouldnt play ball with the men. I am thinking also of Lise Meitner, almost forgotten except to historians of science...she was, according to some sources, the first to see the possible power of an atomic weapon. Forgotten now because she refused to be involved.

Thats all a bit off topic but there is a lurch towards women cook and men do hobbies etc. Thats often the case because men are allowed to and women very often have to fight just to be allowed the space and some of us cant be bothered. We have been conditioned over generations to believe what our society has considered right, male and female roles and women who dissent have at various times been imprisoned, abused, harried etc and even when successful have been less so than they might have perhaps been if they werent having to defend themselves.

As a modern eample of how ba this can get just take a look at whats happening in Australia right now with their Prime Minister.


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Tony Flanders
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5659687 - 02/03/13 10:33 AM

Quote:

I truly truly wonder if its because guys in general are more prone to find these kinds of pursuits and not because they are necessarily expressions of virility or male ego, but just the chemistry of the male mind.




Several people have suggested that in more or less those words. Let me try to dispose of it once and for all.

There is very likely some truth to this statement; however, it is untestable. More to the point, it is not a very helpful way of looking at the isssue. Let me expand.

Although there are surely some inherent differences in male and female minds -- or, more precisely, different tendencies or averages -- it's impossible in practice to tell which differences are inherent and which are cultural. It's fair to say that people tend to underestimate the importance of culture; history is littered with differences between different groups that were once assumed to be innate and later proved to be cultural.

Quote:

Am I wrong or are most sports and hobbies male dominated even if its 60%? Even skiing and scuba is primarily male.




Sports are a case in point. There have always been sports that were exclusively female (field hockey) or dominated by women at the highest levels (softball). But fifty years ago it would have been obvious that sports are inherently male-dominated.

Now it's not obvious at all. Soccer, the fastest growing sport in the U.S., and one of the few sports that's played the same by both sexes, is definitely more popular among girls than boys in my region of the U.S. Given the current trends, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see women dominating in many sports within the next 50 years.

I pointed out a similar example in my first response. Fifty years ago, boys did far better than girls in math and science. Now the reverse is true; girls outperform boys in these subjects at the high-school level, and in some areas of science women outnumber men among PhDs.

It's worth noting that everyone in this thread who has suggested that the difference in astronomy particpation is innate has been a man. This is totally unsurprising.

Throughout history, when one subgroup has been in a position of greater power than others, the dominant subgroup has always believed that the difference is due to inherent superiority -- whether because they're chosen by God, racially purer, bigger, braver, smarter ... whatever.

The subordinate subgroups are generally less enthusiastic about that point of view.

But leaving questions of truth aside, it's simply not helpful to say that the difference is innate. That's no more or less helpful than saying that the difference is cultural. Both of those statements are surely true (they are in no way contradictory!), but they're just a way of avoiding asking the hard questions.

If there's something innate in male biology -- or something cultural -- that makes men more prone to stargazing than women, what is it? That's the interesting question.


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5659777 - 02/03/13 11:25 AM

Cause its the only hobby where a man can be out all night....and the wife doesn't worry about what he's doing....

It works the other way too.......


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droid
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5659833 - 02/03/13 11:52 AM

Just one case.......my daughter came up to visit fo two weeks last year, her mother stayed with the kids and bf, while here she had a ball with my telescopes, she has a very good eye, and wanted one so bad I sent it home with her, once home...it was back to getting the kids up,bathed, fed etc.
Yes he works, comes home showers and plps in his chair, waits for her to finish supper,eats, drinks a few beers, watches tv plays with the kids, and goes to bed, she stays up re cleans the house, packs his lunch for work the next morning, tries to get the kids to bed, and finally hits the sack exhausted.
I wonder how many women who are interested in astronomy have the same problem???? probably a bunch.


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killdabuddha
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: droid]
      #5660166 - 02/03/13 03:07 PM

... until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. ...

We dismiss this, even tho it's been true historically, by rationalizing it away as a reference to sum other place and time. Prisoners do this too, as do people under severe subjugation. It took me twenty years to see the truth of it, tho, in the psychological/cultural/political context in which these words were spoken. Whether yer Hesiod and Ovid, or a Mesoamerican livin under the 5 suns, or a Hindu livin in one of the Yugas of their cyclical Vedic universe, our current time is one of baseness, the lowest rung on the ladder. Even our physics has been based on "forces." It's how we see the world because we're a product of it. We're livin in a Prisoner's Dilemma and women, amongst many others, know the truth of it. Shame on us. Where's the love?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpYeekQkAdc

Whom among you, if yer child asked for bread, would give them a stone? "Daddy, wha'dya leave for me? ...IF YOU DON'T EAT YOUR MEAT, YOU CAN'T HAVE ANY PUDDING! HOW CAN YOU HAVE ANY PUDDING IF YOU DON'T EAT YOUR MEAT?!" Except for the few who've managed to escape Plato's Cave into the fresh air and sunlight and have re-discovered for themselves, and then for others, "the music of the spheres" and a good many other things that we've lost.

History of women in astronomy

http://astro.berkeley.edu/~gmarcy/women/history.html

Zinn's "A People's History of the United States"

http://www.historyisaweapon.com/zinnapeopleshistory.html

And for our purposes, specifically chapter 6, "The Intimately Oppressed"

http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/zinnint6.html

"It is possible, reading standard histories, to forget half the population of the country. The explorers were men, the landholders and merchants men, the political leaders men, the military figures men. The very invisibility of women, the overlooking of women, is a sign of their submerged status."

4,000 Years of Women in Science

http://www.astr.ua.edu/4000WS/




Post edited by droid


Edited by droid (02/03/13 08:01 PM)


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astro_baby
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5660348 - 02/03/13 04:58 PM

Tony....you said it better than I could.

Droid...that was me before a divorce.


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la200o
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5660497 - 02/03/13 06:08 PM

I have to kind of grumpily admit that I don't much care why astronomy is male-dominated, and certainly am not going to wring my hands over it. There's nothing preventing women and girls from getting into as much as they want, as demonstrated by some of our members, including those who have posted on this very thread. I'm sooooo bored with political correctness. . . which seems to be one of the subtexts here. Ladies, there's the sky, and welcome to it!

Bill

Edited by la200o (02/03/13 06:11 PM)


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tecmageModerator
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: la200o]
      #5660565 - 02/03/13 06:50 PM

Quote:

I have to kind of grumpily admit that I don't much care why astronomy is male-dominated, and certainly am not going to wring my hands over it. There's nothing preventing women and girls from getting into as much as they want, as demonstrated by some of our members, including those who have posted on this very thread. I'm sooooo bored with political correctness. . . which seems to be one of the subtexts here. Ladies, there's the sky, and welcome to it!

Bill




Hi Bill. In 12 pages of discussion of an aspect of Astronomy, I don't believe I've read anything that rises to the level of hand-wringing, and definitely nothing that approaches political correctness. No one is being asked to do anything here (that's the Outreach Forum).


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la200o
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: tecmage]
      #5660664 - 02/03/13 08:18 PM

Maybe I'm just getting a little reactionary in my old age, Richard. Looking back you're basically right.

Clear skies,
Bill


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roscoe
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: la200o]
      #5660949 - 02/03/13 11:57 PM

Perhaps it IS a biological thing, in a small way......even back in pre-history, male hominids were bigger, with more upper-body strength, and more agression (all through the animal world, the boys out-display, head-butt, or otherwise fight it out to win the attention of the girls) and these tendencies led to more willingness or drive to attack other animals. With the discovery that some of these victim animals tasted good, came the beginning of hunting.
Fast forward a few million years, this biological aggression tendency has turned into competition in the workplace, sports, and still a need to head-butt and act flashy (or stupid, depending on point-of-view) to attract the ladies. The hunting instinct that's been with us for a gazillion years has, in our little subset, turned into hunting for galaxies........ The "Hey Oog, look at my fancy new spear" boy-bragging has turned into "look at my fancy new EP"
The astromesses I've met or conversed with seem to view astronomy in a more contemplative than competitive way, and while they usually have quite nice gear, they just don't seem all that driven to win the 'most EP's in the fanciest case' contest.......
that's my two cents on the matter.......
Russ


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killdabuddha
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: roscoe]
      #5661834 - 02/04/13 01:54 PM

Quote:

Perhaps it IS a biological thing, in a small way......even back in pre-history, male hominids were bigger, with more upper-body strength, and more agression (all through the animal world, the boys out-display, head-butt, or otherwise fight it out to win the attention of the girls) and these tendencies led to more willingness or drive to attack other animals. With the discovery that some of these victim animals tasted good, came the beginning of hunting.
Fast forward a few million years, this biological aggression tendency has turned into competition in the workplace, sports, and still a need to head-butt and act flashy (or stupid, depending on point-of-view) to attract the ladies. The hunting instinct that's been with us for a gazillion years has, in our little subset, turned into hunting for galaxies........ The "Hey Oog, look at my fancy new spear" boy-bragging has turned into "look at my fancy new EP"
The astromesses I've met or conversed with seem to view astronomy in a more contemplative than competitive way, and while they usually have quite nice gear, they just don't seem all that driven to win the 'most EP's in the fanciest case' contest.......
that's my two cents on the matter.......
Russ




Well, the difficulty of any biological/chemical hypo would of course be that we run contrary to such just by askin the question and by havin women in astronomy at all. Such has also been used in the past with math, science, and how many other things? and with disastrous results (except for those women who refused to believe such/follow the herd). Also, if we raise "the hunt" hypo, thatsa metaphor that can be applied across a much broader range of disciplines. BTW, the common practice today is to drop the male/female gender suffix. Astronomess? LOL. Whatever the case, most of this thread sounds like a hunt for justification rather than for explanation/understanding, and for the latter history is certainly appropriate. (Caution: reading required.)


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la200o
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5661926 - 02/04/13 02:41 PM

I kinda think it is biological somehow; men innately like tools/instruments/gadgets/weapons. . . and of course there are plenty of exceptions to the rule.

Bill


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evilmedic13
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: roscoe]
      #5661943 - 02/04/13 02:54 PM

Culture and opportunity.. My sister spends far more time at the ep than my wife. My wife is a cop, and likes to brag about never doing girls stuff like play with dolls, etc when she was younger, she can't boil water without burning it practically. My grew up as most girls do, dolls, easy bake oven, etc. She's a spec Ed teacher. You would think it would be the opposite. The only difference I see is that my sister had a brother, me, and I was into all that when I we young, and included her. My wife has a sister, neither are curious types at all. In fact, if its not within their "world" it's not interesting to them.
It definitely makes family gatherings boring for me. I'm the only one that's not a cop or rn. Most of the males I know, outside of my job, have little interest as well. My fil thought I had "too many" telescopes when I got #2. He came over last month to see Jupiter. Now, if its warm enough, he calls to see if I'll be out "scoping". Even one if my best friends, a professional photographer, had never viewed through an ep until recently. He said anytime I go out, provided its above 50degrees, he'll drive out to wherever I go. He even offered to load and drive me and my gear out.
A few RN at one of the er's I transport to have expressed interest in viewing after seeing the Venus transit through my 90mm mak-cass. A lot don't know what they're missing until they actually see what their missing. A lot of us can't afford the gear others have. I know I couldn't until around 2009. Mainly because ,in Chicago, you barely see mag 3 objects, so not much interest in what you can't see.
I have more, but this is already too long.


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killdabuddha
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: la200o]
      #5661951 - 02/04/13 03:01 PM

Quote:

I kinda think it is biological somehow; men innately like tools/instruments/gadgets/weapons. . . and of course there are plenty of exceptions to the rule.

Bill




Hi Bill,

Firstly, if yer daughter wanted to be an astronomer you wouldn't play the bio-card. Secondly, which of the many evolutionary models would you cite? Thirdly, how does biology not first produce the other factors which are more germane/close to the issue...that it's been through coercion or force (whether of law/conquest/rule/belief) that almost everything has been male-dominated in what we call "civilization?" And lastly, is it ok that such thinkin has justified keepin women outa so much for so long? Or did women somehow eventually evolve to the point where they could be trusted to vote and have property and do science and math? (On a side note, isn't "innate" another way of sayin, "Sumthin does/is what it does/is for reasons that we don't yet know," as with "instinct," etc. Also, there are plenty of cultures/societies where women fight side by side with men, and the Israeli Air Force has shown, scientifically, that women make better pilots.)


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la200o
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5662043 - 02/04/13 04:01 PM

How do you know I wouldn't? And what are those cultures where women fight side-by-side with men? Maybe on TV. . .and now and then in cases of desperation (Russian female snipers, VC guerrellas. . . ).

Clear skies,

Bill


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Crow Haven
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: evilmedic13]
      #5662060 - 02/04/13 04:13 PM

On the cultural/opportunity track, this is familiar to me as well. I wasn't much interested in dolls, etc. Luckily, the opportunities to choose what did interest me was provided. Neither of my parents were into science and very little of astronomy was taught in my schools (astronomy was covered in about 5 short pages in two texts through high school). I was always interested in the sciences -- way more than most of the boys in my classes. Why was that? Top grades in these subjects certainly earned me a "nerd" label, but I didn't care...in fact, however you might like to view it, I have never cared what others thought of me or my interests. I've wondered why so many yielded to peer pressure on so many things while I did not. Stubbornness? Only child syndrome? For many there was a fear of the "nerd" label in school, with both boys and girls -- I didn't know of any girls who wanted to risk it rather than follow a group and be thought of as "cool."

Neither of my parents ever said much about it (how to deal with peer pressure)they just let me do my "own thing." They were both busy most of the time with work but if I asked for help with something they would do whatever they could...like the time Mom hiked far back into the hills with me (age 10) brandishing a "sharp pointy instrument" for protection against "wild dogs", etc. to help me find and study amphibians for a project I was working on. She was also terrified of snakes, of which there were plenty of rattlers in the area, so this was hard for her. She didn't share my love of most all creatures...Dad was rather indifferent on it.

If biology is a part of the reason more men like astronomy then what is it? Testosterone level = competitiveness translating into anything that can be competitive/won looks like a more interesting endeavor? It's all too general.

I give credit to my parents for providing what opportunities they could towards my interests. They were not traditional, not at all religious in any way (although their own parents were religious), they didn't dictate what I should think, feel, or believe. They gave me my freedom, and I flew with it.


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Photobud
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: la200o]
      #5662181 - 02/04/13 05:34 PM

Quote:

How do you know I wouldn't? And what are those cultures where women fight side-by-side with men? Maybe on TV. . .and now and then in cases of desperation (Russian female snipers, VC guerrellas. . . ).

Clear skies,

Bill




Israel and soon, USA!


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csa/montana
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Photobud]
      #5662258 - 02/04/13 06:24 PM

This discussion is amazing, the paths it's gone down. Personally, I really don't care if something I want to do, is considered male dominated, female dominated, or 50/50. If I enjoy something, I'm doing it because I want to do it; and in all the hobbies I've had, I've always been accepted for who I am, not my gender. Flying, & motorcycles were just two of my hobbies where I was welcomed as one of the group; regardless of how many were male or female. When I became interested in Astronomy; it never entered my mind that I was entering a "male dominated" hobby; who really cares, I certainly don't.

Perhaps we should put as much energy as shown in this thread, in coming up with ways to encourage more females & youngsters (boys AND girls) to share our love of astronomy.


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Crow Haven
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5662266 - 02/04/13 06:29 PM

Right on!

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la200o
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Photobud]
      #5662297 - 02/04/13 06:52 PM

Quote:

Quote:

How do you know I wouldn't? And what are those cultures where women fight side-by-side with men? Maybe on TV. . .and now and then in cases of desperation (Russian female snipers, VC guerrellas. . . ).

Clear skies,

Bill




Israel and soon, USA!




Israel: desperation (and as far as I know, women are still not allowed in line infantry units). *edited by moderator*
Clear skies,
Bill

p.s. to Carol: yep

Edited by tecmage (02/04/13 08:37 PM)


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azure1961p
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5662539 - 02/04/13 09:39 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I truly truly wonder if its because guys in general are more prone to find these kinds of pursuits and not because they are necessarily expressions of virility or male ego, but just the chemistry of the male mind.




Several people have suggested that in more or less those words. Let me try to dispose of it once and for all.

There is very likely some truth to this statement; however, it is untestable. More to the point, it is not a very helpful way of looking at the isssue. Let me expand.

Although there are surely some inherent differences in male and female minds -- or, more precisely, different tendencies or averages -- it's impossible in practice to tell which differences are inherent and which are cultural. It's fair to say that people tend to underestimate the importance of culture; history is littered with differences between different groups that were once assumed to be innate and later proved to be cultural.

Quote:

Am I wrong or are most sports and hobbies male dominated even if its 60%? Even skiing and scuba is primarily male.




Sports are a case in point. There have always been sports that were exclusively female (field hockey) or dominated by women at the highest levels (softball). But fifty years ago it would have been obvious that sports are inherently male-dominated.

Now it's not obvious at all. Soccer, the fastest growing sport in the U.S., and one of the few sports that's played the same by both sexes, is definitely more popular among girls than boys in my region of the U.S. Given the current trends, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see women dominating in many sports within the next 50 years.

I pointed out a similar example in my first response. Fifty years ago, boys did far better than girls in math and science. Now the reverse is true; girls outperform boys in these subjects at the high-school level, and in some areas of science women outnumber men among PhDs.

It's worth noting that everyone in this thread who has suggested that the difference in astronomy particpation is innate has been a man. This is totally unsurprising.

Throughout history, when one subgroup has been in a position of greater power than others, the dominant subgroup has always believed that the difference is due to inherent superiority -- whether because they're chosen by God, racially purer, bigger, braver, smarter ... whatever.

The subordinate subgroups are generally less enthusiastic about that point of view.

But leaving questions of truth aside, it's simply not helpful to say that the difference is innate. That's no more or less helpful than saying that the difference is cultural. Both of those statements are surely true (they are in no way contradictory!), but they're just a way of avoiding asking the hard questions.

If there's something innate in male biology -- or something cultural -- that makes men more prone to stargazing than women, what is it? That's the interesting question.




Thanks Tony. I appreciate your thoughts here. One thing I will add - in some sports/hobbies I enjoy women ARE well received. They might not dominate now but what ones do are welcomed. I think most folks probably find it refreshing when a member of the opposite S gets involved in a predominantly opposite S pursuit. It's kind of refreshing I think.

Pete


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droid
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csa/montana]
      #5662578 - 02/04/13 10:06 PM

Carol; Amen sister

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mark8888
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: droid]
      #5662586 - 02/04/13 10:11 PM

Just read an article/graph which is pretty on point for this thread. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/02/04/science/girls-lead-in-science-e...

Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the United States
For years and especially since 2005, when Lawrence H. Summers, then president of Harvard, made his notorious comments about womens aptitude researchers have been searching for ways to explain why there are so many more men than women in the top ranks of science.

Now comes an intriguing clue, in the form of a test given in 65 developed countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It finds that among a representative sample of 15-year-olds around the world, girls generally outperform boys in science but not in the United States.

What explains the gap? Andreas Schleicher, who oversees the tests for the O.E.C.D., says different countries offer different incentives for learning science and math...


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roscoe
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5662761 - 02/05/13 12:36 AM

Quote:

BTW, the common practice today is to drop the male/female gender suffix. Astronomess? LOL.




With tongue firmly in cheek, I would like to point out that right here in this forum there is a non-gender-specific individual who refers to their non-gender-specific self as....... an 'Astronomess'.......

R


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killdabuddha
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: la200o]
      #5662872 - 02/05/13 03:19 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Quote:

How do you know I wouldn't? And what are those cultures where women fight side-by-side with men? Maybe on TV. . .and now and then in cases of desperation (Russian female snipers, VC guerrellas. . . ).

Clear skies,

Bill




Israel and soon, USA!




Israel: desperation (and as far as I know, women are still not allowed in line infantry units). *edited by moderator*
Clear skies,
Bill

p.s. to Carol: yep




Phung Thi Chinh took part in the battles of 43 AD and delivered her child at the battlefront. Other women involved in the fighting included Hoang Thieu Hoa, General Le Chan, Thanh Thien Princess and Cao Thi Lien.

In 1997 the earliest known women warrior burial mounds were excavated in southern Russia.

About 20% of Scythian-Sarmatian 'warrior graves' on the lower Don and lower Volga contained females dressed for battle in the same manner as men, a phenomenon that probably inspired the Greek tales about the Amazons.

Between 373 and 380 AD Queen Mavia she led the Saracen into battles against Rome in Palestine, Phoenicia and Egypt.

Trieu Thi Trinh fought against the Chinese in Vietnam in 248AD.

In 2004, the 2,000 year old remains of an Iranian female warrior were found in the northwestern Iranian city of Tabriz.

Fu Hao was one of the many wives of King Wu Ding of the Shang Dynasty and also served as a military general and high priestess.

In terms of "normal" women fighting as part of a regular army, one of the earliest examples known is Nusaybah bint Ka'ab; the first female to fight battles in defence of Islam and Prophet Muhammad. After her, many others followed. This was over a millennium before women took active roles in modern western armies.

Princess Pingyang raised and commanded her own army in the revolt against the Sui Dynasty.

A bronze age cuirass for a woman dated between the 11th and 8th century BC was found at Haute Marne in the Netherlands.

The Spartan princess Arachidamia fought Pyrrhus (of the phrase "pyrrhic victory") with a group of Spartan females under her command, and killed several soldiers before perishing.

The Celtic Queen Boudicca with her two daughters led a revolt against the Roman Empire in 60 AD but was decisively defeated at at the Battle of Watling Street.

Emilia Plater was a Polish noblewoman who led a revolt against Russia.

The Roman Empire was known to sometimes have women fighting, called gladiatrix, in gladiator games.

The Dahomey people, who live in western Africa also established an all female militia, who served as royal bodyguards to the king.

The majority of Native American tribes possessed respected and well established women leaders of their militia. However, the Europeans and early American men refused to deal with Native American women on such matters and so their significance was not understood or appreciated until relatively recently.

The Rig-Veda, an ancient sacred poem of India, written between 3500 and 1800 BC recounts the story of a warrior, Queen Vishpla, who lost her leg in battle, was fitted with an iron prosthesis, and returned to battle.

In South Asia and the Indian Subcontinent, there are records of women who have led armies into battle.

In 366AD Empress Jingo Kogo led a Japanese invasion of Korea. Empress Jingo was pregnant when she invaded Korea and therefore had to have adjustable armor made.

In 39 AD Trung Trac and Trung Nhi led a Vietnamese uprising against the Chinese. They gained control of 65 citadels and reigned as queens until 43 AD. Their mother Tran Thi Doan (also known as Lady Man Thien) trained them in military skills and led troops to support them.

Zabibi and her successor Samsi reigned as Arabian warrior queens from approximately 740 to 720 BC. Both commanded armies containing large numbers of women.

Dihya al-Kahina was a warrior queen who led Berber troops against invading Arabs around 694AD.

In 200AD, Japan was ruled by the warrior-priestess-queen Himoko (or Pimiko).

On the walls of Hittite fortresses dating to 1300 BC paintings of woman warriors carrying axes and swords.

Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi was one of the leading figures of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and was described by the British as "remarkable for her beauty, cleverness and perseverance", and that she had been "the most dangerous of all the rebel leaders".

In 529 BC Queen Tomyris of the Massagetai defeated the Persians.

The Biblical Judge, Deborah, was a military leader during the occupation of Canaan 1250 -1050 BC.

Unniyarcca was a famed warrior princess who lived in the south Indian state of Kerala during the 16th century.

Kittur Chennamma, queen of the princely state of Kittur, led a rebellion against the British decades before the 1857 uprising.

Indonesia counts a number of female warriors among its national heroines.

Between 1570 and 1546 BC Queen Aahhotep I of Egypt led armies against Thebes and helped to unite Egypt under one rule.

Cut Nyak Dhien and Cut Nyak Meutia waged a nationalist war and jihad against the Dutch during the Aceh War at the turn of the 20th Century.

Another Indonesian national heroine, Martha Christina Tiahahu, joined a guerrilla war against the Dutch colonial government as a teenager, in 1817.



Howz that Mr. Bill? These are only a few particular women and cultures that we know about because of their notoriety. There are many more notable examples, and how many more that will never be known because they were mere infantry? Desperation indeed. Non-infantry indeed. What a ridiculous comment.

And as for yer other, "How do I know you wouldn't [deny yer daughter astronomy on biological grounds]?", I didn't say that I knew such. I said that you wouldn't do such. There's a difference, but bein a guy, and hence deprived somewhat linguistically as compared with women, maybe you don't read too good? On second thought, maybe you would do that.


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killdabuddha
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: mark8888]
      #5662875 - 02/05/13 03:23 AM

Quote:

Just read an article/graph which is pretty on point for this thread. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/02/04/science/girls-lead-in-science-e...

Girls Lead in Science Exam, but Not in the United States
For years and especially since 2005, when Lawrence H. Summers, then president of Harvard, made his notorious comments about womens aptitude researchers have been searching for ways to explain why there are so many more men than women in the top ranks of science.

Now comes an intriguing clue, in the form of a test given in 65 developed countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It finds that among a representative sample of 15-year-olds around the world, girls generally outperform boys in science but not in the United States.

What explains the gap? Andreas Schleicher, who oversees the tests for the O.E.C.D., says different countries offer different incentives for learning science and math...




If yer willing to have yer socks knocked off, or just want a handy resource, check out

http://www.worldmapper.org/

Then you'll know where America stands in the world, and what it does or doesn't stand for, particularly in education.


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astro_baby
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5662914 - 02/05/13 04:45 AM

Killdabuddha....intesting post. Obviosly being a Brit Boadicea and the Iceni are close to my heart ......I think your examples do show theres not much thats 'innate' and I never really believed there was. There mah be differences in brain chemistry and structure etc whose to say women dont have an advantage because of it. In the UK girls routinely outperform boys in academia these days.

Anyone whos seen a women get really angry ( as opposed to sort of angry or mildly annoyed ) knows we can be very ferocious indeed so no reason to believe we wouldnt make great warriors. Upper body strength is actually not that big an advantage unless your going to wrestle. A spear through an opponent, or an arrow or a high velocity bullet for that matter is likely to render any wrestling match superflous. Women take high G better than men but I dont see men arguing that women should be fighter pilots very often. Thats the old dominant group picking tha data that suits them routine.

Personally I have never believed there are any imperatives.......

There are plenty of other examples in observed science. Its very easy to believe data at times especially when it fits with your own preconceptions of what the 'truth' is.

As to why the are fewer women who do astronomy though...heres a thought. How do we know thats true ? Its a bit of an assumption in itself isnt it ?

They may not be posting on boards, its easy to believe that everyone into astro is online as well. I regularly meet people who have never been on an astro board. My own sister for instance never comes online, occasionally reads boards but has no interest in conttributing ( and usually berates me for wasting time online as well ).

It may be there are women in all kinds of astro reated fields who just dont do observational astro.

The ratio of men to women may be slewed by men taking up a new hobby but who in fact leave the hobby quickly so if you based it on people who have been in the hobby for say 10 years you may get a different result. Certainly I see a lot of men start on forums and then drop away and I see a lot of gear being sold 'because I am bored' type ads by men. Now I come to think of it I have never bought any secondhand gear off another woman.

Thinking about this last night I wondered about imaging........does that perhaps attract more men in.? Ioccurred to me I only know a single woman who does imaging. Forgive if I am overlooking any on here but I am basing this on personal contact.

Edited by droid (02/05/13 09:39 AM)


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la200o
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/09/08

Loc: SE Michigan, USA
Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5663016 - 02/05/13 08:03 AM

[quote
Howz that Mr. Bill? These are only a few particular women and cultures that we know about because of their notoriety. There are many more notable examples, and how many more that will never be known because they were mere infantry? Desperation indeed. Non-infantry indeed. What a ridiculous comment.





You must not have much to do but write long rambling, and semi-literate posts! As an ex-Marine rifle squad leader, I suspect I know quite a bit more than you do about what works in the infantry. Gosh, you've sure assembled a lot of dubious "facts," though. I'm impressed?

Bill

Edited by la200o (02/05/13 08:10 AM)


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Achernar
Postmaster
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Reged: 02/25/06

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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5663093 - 02/05/13 09:00 AM

I am a Slav by half, my father and his family are Ukrainians and Russians. During the Second World War, many women were combat pilots and snipers, some of whom killed hundreds of Germans before they themselves were killed. After the war, women were well represented in the Soviet Spetznatz, especially the Navy Spetznatz. That is their version of the Green Berets and Navy SEALS. There's also a Ukrainian lady who is one of the world's top aerobatic pilots. When she's not flying, she raises her children with her husband. Americans who do not have my ancestry have no idea that a Russian woman is a lioness when it comes to her children and their welfare. I saw that in my grandmother Anna, and I know a Russian couple who lives down the street from me. There is a long history of women fighting along their men against the Russian people's numerous external and intenal enemies. When it comes to astronomy, many professional astronomers in Russia have been and are women today. In general, there seems to be many more professional astronomers across the board who are women than amatuer astronomers. That reflects the fact that hobbies are but one of many priorites everyone must juggle who are not astronomers by profession versus those who make their living as professionals.

Taras


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Tom Polakis
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: astro_baby]
      #5663145 - 02/05/13 09:30 AM

Quote:

As to why the are fewer women who do astronomy though...heres a thought. How do we know thats true ? Its a bit of an assumption in itself isnt it ?





I've enjoyed reading your contributions to this thread, but I feel compelled to answer that question.

It's not an assumption; it's as simple as looking at the data. Very few women are buying telescopes, attending meetings, going to star parties, subscribing to the magazines, posting on this board. We know that women represent a small part of the astronomy hobby.

I see this argument trotted out often when the subject of the lack of young amateur astronomers is discussed, and it doesn't hold up.

Tom


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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: droid]
      #5663156 - 02/05/13 09:35 AM

Cause men are from Mars and Women are from Venus....and Venus is covered in clouds(always)..........Mars has clear skies (mostly).......

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csrlice12
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: roscoe]
      #5663166 - 02/05/13 09:41 AM

Astronomess--sounds like the inside of my kit bag......

I believe "Astronomer" is one of those "sexless" terms. We've come to think of it as male, well because we're probably not as intelligent as we think we are......


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droid
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Re: Astronomy Hobby Male dominated, Why? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5663173 - 02/05/13 09:43 AM

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