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  1. Pink and Blue science

    August 5, 2014 by admin

    Yesterday my 5 year old boy and I were walking down the toothbrush aisle trying to pick out a toothbrush for him. This took somewhat of a long time as there was a lot of toothbrushes to look at. “I don’t want a pink one” he stated, inspecting the Hello Kitty brushes, “They are for girls!”. “Or for boys who like Hello Kitty”, I told him, as he picked up a Spiderman brush and we went to pay. It made me think of when he was at nursery two years earlier and when prompted to pick a sticker for doing something good he picked a Hello Kitty one instead of a Ben 10. His key-worker was almost apologetic when telling me he had the choice and he had picked it himself. It wasn’t strange at all, he liked cats, he had never seen Ben 10. Back then pink and blue didn’t matter so much.  But now it clearly does, and I find it that as a mother of two boys I really need to try hard to make them see that life shouldn’t be this pink/blue divide, where boys go out and do action filled jobs and girls stay home by the poolside or go shopping, as so much toys will tell us they do.

    Therefor I was extremely happy this morning to read that Lego are doing a set of female scientists figurines, and as you can see from the box it isn’t blue or pink, hopefully encouraging both boys and girls to play with them.  I will make a point of buying these to add to my boy’s ever growing Lego collection.

    Because I don’t see why they shouldn’t play with girl figures. I used to play with the more gender-less looking Lego of the 80′s, pretending that the astronauts where both men and women characters.

    I believe that awareness starts at the grassroot level and that it is oh so important to let kids be kids and not force them into gender stereotypes straight away. My boys will know that it is OK to play with Hello Kitty or My Little Pony if they would want to. But more important than that, they will know that women are not just there to be pretty on Action Man’s arm (are there even any women in Action Man’s world?) Girls should grow up knowing that they could enter the world of science if they want to, and boys should grow up knowing that women in the science world is not something odd. One day I like for there to not be such a thing as a women scientist, she would simply just be referred to as a scientist.

    A few years ago I wrote this blog for Huffington Post about Ada Lovelace, the first ever programmer who also happens to be a woman. This blog was written for Ada Lovelace day, a day where we celebrate women in science and technology. I also made this video of my son, then 3 years old where I told him about Ada Lovelace day. Today when I saw the Lego news I wanted to link to the video on Twitter so I looked it up on Youtube, and I was quite surprised to see it had two thumbs down. I mean the video has only had 68 views, yet two of these have gone in and bothered to press thumbs down. On a video of a 3 year old boy and his mum talking about a woman in science. I find this all rather depressing. When will misogynistic trolls stop hating on social media? Well stupid question I guess, but in a world where people who campaign for women on money get rape and death threats you can see something is needed to be done. So think about that next time you go past the pink and blue toy aisles. Just let toys be toys, and let kids dream about becoming whatever they want be that a scientist an astronaut  a programmer or a housewife.


  2. Ada Lovelace

    April 11, 2013 by admin

    Last year I wrote a Blog for Huffington Post about Ada Lovelace. I thought I would post it here too;

     

    Have you heard about Ada Lovelace? I know what you are thinking, but no not Linda Lovelace the pornstar. No, Ada Lovelace the world’s first computer programmer. Yes, I am serious; the first computer programmer was indeed a woman. The female geek in the making was born in 1815 to the rather famous Lord Byron and his wife, she grew up with an interest in maths and algorithms. In particular she was interested in Babbage’s (Charles Babbage is often referred to as the father of the computer) work on the analytical engine. Ada translated an article by Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea on the engine. This translation she supplemented with a set of her own notes. These notes contained an algorithm encoded for processing by a machine – which is considered the first computer program.

    History lesson over, let’s talk about the present day. On 16 October we celebrate Ada Lovelace day. This day is meant not to celebrate Ada Lovelace herself but is about celebrating women in science and technology and sharing stories about inspiring women within these fields

    The first time I heard about Ada Lovelace was on my first day at university back in 1996 in Sweden. I felt some sort of strange pride that the first programmer had been a woman. We live in a world where girls grow up to be more encouraged to look like Lara Croft rather than being the programmer behind the Tomb Raider games. Back then I knew a lot of aspiring programmers but none of these were women. Why is that?

    A few days ago I saw a tweet under the hashtag #womenintech saying “I’d rather be a binman than work in IT”, a quote from a young girl. Again why is that? Personally I think it could be due to a lack of role models within the world of science.

    There are of course lots of fantastic women in the world of science, yet we don’t hear much about them, as women we will hear much more about Victoria Beckham’s new amazing haircut or how much weight Jessica Simpson has put on instead. So I should think this is why more people will think of Linda rather than Ada when they hear the name Lovelace. Women who do well within the field of science and technology are just not talked about much.

    I think in a world where little girls grow up wanting to become Page 3 models, or see their career goal to marry a footballer, better role models are extremely important.

    That is why Ada Lovelace day is such a great idea, share stories about women like Ada who inspires others to go on and dare to be a science nerd. I left that lesson back in 1996 feeling very inspired.

    I have been working myself in the internet industry since 1999, a few years at start-ups, a few years at big giants like Yahoo! and Getty Images, now I work as the web editor for UK charity MS Trust. Most places I have worked at have been male dominated, but by no means is it a boys’ club, women should be welcome in this world. And more women should be encouraged to join this world as it is a fun and exciting place.

    I am not a techie myself, I started out as one, I did really well at school and left to study science at the Swedish equivalent to six form college. My favourite subject was physics. My dad was my role model and he had great dreams of me becoming an engineer. When he passed away when I was 16, I just gave up. There was no more inspiration and I thought without him I couldn’t do it.

    So I quit, jumped ship and started studying humanities instead, and moved on to university to do a degree in media. Even though I am happy in the job I do now, and I have had a good career as a web producer/editor, in the back of my mind I wonder how it would have been if my dad hadn’t passed away, or if there would have been another role model in my life with the same love for science as he had.

    So I think better role models are needed, and as parents we should be telling our children about Ada and other women if the world of Science and Technology, especially if we have little girls, and hopefully in that way bring up some more girls that will choose Ada instead of Barbie.


  3. Sex, Drugs and No Rock’Roll (or my adventures on the train)

    January 21, 2013 by admin

    Today I had to take the train to go and have a Glaucoma test done on my eyes. A few weeks back my optician told me when I was getting my new glasses that the pressure in my eye was a bit weird.  Test came out all good so no glaucoma, but it wasn’t that I was going to write about, no, it was about the journey there and the journey back.

    As I got on the train, I felt rather happy, it wasn’t too late, it wasn’t too full, I got a seat and I would get to my appointment on time. When I sat down I spotted that at the seat someone opposite me, who also was rather happy. Or maybe actually he was rather cold. Jammed into his trousers was his hand safely resting in his crotch. As I have been blogging about this rather annoying phenomena, of young guys walking around with their hands in their pants  before and it turns me straight into angry offended old lady mood, I thought I would snap a picture to capture the moment. So I discreetly  took a photo of where his hand where at and put it on twitter with the text “Britain so cold today that train passengers have to hide their hands in trousers. Honestly there are pockets for that!” . Just after I did that a ticket inspector comes on, the young man had to cut out his hand warming and get his ticket out instead. I felt like shouting to the lady ticket inspector, “no no NOOOOOO don’t touch his ticket, I know where his hand has been”. Not knowing where to look now I continue the journey staring out the window. When we arrive at my destination, the guy comes up to me outside the train and asks “Have you got any Credit?” “What” I said “Credit?” “Yeah Credit” “Errr no” I said and he walks away slightly disgruntled. I felt confused and very much my age and then some. Credit? I had to consult google finding out this seem to be giff gaff generation lingo for can I borrow your phone. Aha… You see I come from a background where my first thought was, I snapped a photo of his trousers, I didn’t ask for a model release form, I published the photo and now he wanted a credit.  You live and learn…you live and learn. A friend pointed out that after I learned that he wanted to borrow my mobile I probably still should have said no, as I knew where his hand had been…

    On the way back I was suffering a bit however. The glaucoma test includes dripping eyedrops into your eye that makes your pupil very very large, it also makes your vision rather blurred. Walking to the train station in the dark was ok, however sitting in the brightly lit carriage made my vision really bad. I suspect I looked like a total stoner with my huge pupils and I felt like I have had a very hard night out drinking. Sitting among the commuters I most likely looked out of place, like I had been having a better time then I had having my eyes prodded for 90 mins. In fact maybe someone snapped a photo of me saying, look at the 35 years olds of today, drunk and stoned in rush hour where is the world going to?


  4. I am so making this bag

    October 2, 2012 by admin

    I am planning on writing a Ada Lovelace inspired blog for Ada Lovelace day on the 16th, whilst researching the subject I had a bit of photoshop play and made this bag. Now I just need someone to manufacture it. If I had a daughter she would soooo have a bag like it!

     


  5. Why I support #nomorepage3

    October 1, 2012 by admin

    As a foreign person living in the UK, I have always been rather baffled by the concept of the page 3 girl. Before you start thinking that I am some old prude I will point out a few things.
    • I come from Sweden a country rather know for it’s pro-nakedness, nudity seems to be a bit more natural over there.
    • I’ve worked several years for yahoo reviewing all sorts of sites for inclusion in their directory. I have probably seen more boobs than the page 3 picture editor has

    No, my issue and  my biggest question is; “what the heck does the boobs have to do with the news”? Yep that’s right, absolutely nothing. It is just an old fashioned “bit of fun” that really needs to leave the papers now. Dominic Mohan defends it by calling it a British institution.

    A few weeks ago I signed the No More Page 3 petition, and I rather naively asked on Twitter, why nobody had done this in the past. I was swiftly told about Clare Short’s campaign to do the same a few years ago, where the charming Mr Mohan published an article on the subject titled “‘Fat, jealous’ Clare brands Page 3 porn”. The Article mostly concludes that as Clare is obviously harboring secret dreams of appearing on page 3 but due to her looks she can’t so therefore she is a jealous spoilsport. The lazy persons argument, one that some men always like to use towards women, they are fat, ugly, frigid and jealous. The women quoted in the article as pro page 3 are of course page 3 models themselves. They use the same arguments, Clare is ugly we are not, so why should we cover up. Well they would say that as they get paid bap-money .

    Do I think Porn and Lads mags should be banned? No I don’t, there will always be a market for that. But I do think boobs do not belong in a newspaper (unless the topic of the news item is about boobs, like for example talking abut breast cancer), there the boobs are totally irrelevant.

    In all honesty I find it totally depressing that we live in a world where women rather take their top off for money than work. Where the ultimate goal for a young girl is to be a decoration on a footballers arm. Girls want to be famous, but if they don’t have any skills do be famous with, the scandal way is always an alternative, that is why the media is so filled of rather useless people. Take Abi Titmuss, she was a badly paid nurse, that scandal she was involved in paved a way for a booby career instead, far better paid. Did it make her happier? The verdict is out on that one…But it is very sad that young girls grow up wanting boob jobs so they can “put them out there” and earn lots of money. I believe that apart from the really famous glamour girls, it isn’t actually a great deal of money to be made And more too it, there isn’t a great longevity in a career choice like that. Let’s face it, the sun doesn’t really plaster old women’s boobs on page 3 do they?

    Also with the increasing demand of bigger better boobs, kids of today grow up with a very weird boby image. Teenage boys seeing page 3 girls and then comparing them to the girls in there class, teasing the girls for not having tripple H hooters creating an even bigger demand for plastic fantastic. In fact you almost suspect that this British Institution Mr Mohan talks about is sponsored by the plastic-surgeons down Harley street.

    I have a young son myself, I want him to grow up in a world that shows respect towards women, not just think that they are there to look pretty and can be walked all over. Getting rid of page 3 is a good step in the right direction, it sends out such a bad message to young people today, seeing that in a newspaper.For both boys and girls. Of course I know boys will find pictures online, or maybe next to that railway track as they used to back in the days, and once again, that is fine. The glamour girls have to make a living too I guess.

    By the 1st of October close to 41000 people have signed the No More Page 3 petition. Are all these people fat, ugly jealous women who secretly want nothing more than get their baps out in the Sun, but can’t due to their lack of prettyness? I doubt it, nor are they all women, quite frankly this British insTITution needs to go, because boobs really are not news.

    Someone suggested getting stickers to cover the boobs in the Sun up, I would go further than that, get stickers looking like babies, because it seem to be the biggest reason for asking women to put their top on again, when they are breastfeeding. I guess people don’t like being reminded about the real purpose of the boobs. But that is a whole other blog post…

    Now get out of here and sign the Petition