Thursday, May 26, 2011


If you have an hour available, I highly recommend the full video posted above linked. Professor Nancy Hopkins of MIT gives the keynote speech at a conference on The Status of Women in Science and Engineering at MIT. The transcript is also available from the website.

At 19 minutes into the speech, she mentions "I fled from feminists. I just wanted to be seen as a scientist."

This reminded me of a conversation in a mixed group of interns. As I recall, it was shortly after the death of Jessica Dubroff, and one of the male students had made a comment about female pilots.

And yet, at that time I didn't feel any particular connection to feminism. I just wanted to be an engineer.

Most of my experiences to that point were along the lines of "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle," or some of the more outrageous statements about men coming from NOW. As a straight woman, and as mother to a boy, I do find value in the males of our species. I don't feel the need to put anyone down in order to raise my own value.

But in the years since that conversation, I have traveled a journey similar to what Professor Hopkins describes, uncovering intrinsic bias throughout American society. And so, like Professor Hopkins, I now consider myself a feminist.