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Fall 2011 Kickoff Event


Present how the conditions for women have gotten better but that there are still issues. Show a little about science in general and each field through the ages (e.g., conditions in 1971, 1991, and 2011). Maybe a little from each woman prof about what she loves about science and what is most challenging and how she copes with it.

Tools Discussion through Scenarios

Assigned Female-Stereotypical Tasks

Scenario: Boss or Teammates: “You are so much more organized than the rest of us guys: you're in charge of taking notes for the meetings, putting the notes online, reserving a room for our meetings, reserving equipment.” If you decline, then the boss/teammates accuses you of not being a team player.

Answer Discussion:

Your unexpected qualifications

Scenario: From an “enlightened” professor “Congratulations on your award! You really deserve it: your high GPA, your research experience, and you're a woman, so you really deserve this!”

Answer Discussion:

  • this may be tricky because you can't really react to this from a professor

Yes, tricky, but can still respond with confidence - “yes, I've worked really hard and genuinely enjoyed the course work and research”

Jealous classmate

Scenario: “Oh, you got into Best University? I didn't, and I have a higher GPA than you. But, you're a woman, so they probably had a couple of spots reserved for women.”

Answer Discussion: You know GPA isn't the only consideration for graduate school. I've done research and really thought about my thesis project. I think that counts for more. And besides, you should be aware of the unconscious bias against woman. Note: I think this is an important scenario, because its likely to come up with classmates now and not some distant future they don't yet understand.

Jealous Boyfriend

Scenario: “You spend a lot of time with Joe in the lab. And, you always talk about him. You can't _just_ be friends with a boy. That's how we hooked up, remember? I don't think you can work in that lab anymore.”

Answer Discussion:

Unevolved Classmate

Scenario: Why are you in WITS? Are you some kind of feminist?“ (probably would mention more about WITS, to help promote their group)

Answer Discussion:

Interview with advisor/boss

Scenario: the you-can't-get-married-or-can't-have-a-baby

Answer Discussion:

Insensitive Boss

Scenario: Woman: “Our colleague comments on the outfits that the women in his classes wear, and it makes the students uncomfortable.” Boss: “What kind of things does he say?” Woman: “Oh, just that the dress is pretty or something like that.” Boss: “I hate to think that we live in a world where we can't compliment each other.”

Answer Discussion:

Scenario: Woman: here is an uncomfortable situation that is happening to me. Boss: you need to toughen up and develop a thick skin

Answer Discussion:

Tackling a Challenge

Scenario: Boss: “A scientific big-wig is coming to our office. I'd like you to talk to her for 30 minutes.” You: “What me? Oh, no. I wouldn't know what to talk to her about. Why don't you ask someone else and if no one else can, then maybe I can do it.” Maybe this one is a multiple choice one?

Answer Discussion:

Difficult Group Dynamics

Scenario: Not getting your voice heard in a group

Answer Discussion: If you get interrupted, KEEP TALKING. (That may drive you nuts first.)

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