Friday, February 09, 2007


I am dang jealous of the boyfriend today. He's been in Seattle the past couple of days, interviewing with Bbbbilll! We spoke on the phone tonight, talked about how his interview went, his $24 shopping spree at REI, and his Baja Fresh intake. His most interesting comment about the interview was,

"It was strange to me that whenever I talked to a man, I was talking to a researcher. Whenever I talked to a woman, she was a non-researcher."

That wasn't a comment on his attitude towards women in science, it was what actually took place. Only the recruiter and the HR rep. were women. The five or six people that interviewed him were all men.

It's too bad that Microsoft appears to suffer the same problems of diversity that many universities around the country do. Though, if you look at websites alone, you'd think there were women EVERYWHERE. I do appreciate what academic institutions are trying to do with these photographs, but it really seems quite contrived. For example, the following picture has a diverse group of people doing something obviously technical,

I have an engineering degree, but I have no idea what they are looking at. Moreover, I wish someone would just give that girl a step-ladder. I can see the thought-bubble above her head, "Almost....allllmoosst."

Other pictures seem less contrived, like this one of a woman in a clean room. Though, I don't think visual inspection alone can pass a silicon wafer out of quality control.

MIT seems the most honest with this photo from a recent EE freshman orientation,

Still, I'm always quite suspicious of these pictures, no matter how realistic they are supposed to seem.

Why do you always have to be so paranoid?

Sigh, you again? Well, for the past two years, there have been some "Diversity Posters" hanging around the hallways of my building. It's a photo montage of about 6 people; including a Latino man, a couple of African American woman, and this other woman who looks like she could be Rene Russo.

Can't you just be happy that there are female icons in your building, even if only in paper form? The department is trying to make an effort!

That's just it. The women in that particular poster are just icons. I realized this one day when I was visiting the Planned Parenthood website. One of the African American women depicted in the "Diversity Poster" was also in the photo montage on the P.P. homepage. Either this woman is a high-profile computer scientist AND birth control pill user or ...

Damn you, stock photography!

Can't even find enough "real" female computer scientists to make a stupid poster?


DC said...

We were walking around a hospital in Phoenix and noticed a similar phenomenon with pictures of surgeons. In fact, there were zero white male surgeons pictured. I suggested that it was because a white male surgeon might actually be seen in the halls so there was less need.

Wicked Teacher of the West said...

We have the same problem at my school. In some ways it has a worse impact at my school - we have a true commitment to diversity, so the disproportionately high level of diversity on the website seems non-contrived, until you show up and realize how many blondes there actually are.

pluto said...

> I have an engineering degree, but I have no idea what they are looking at. Moreover, I wish someone would just give that girl a step-ladder.

Made me laugh.