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EDF Energy's 'attempt' to encourage more women into STEM subjects?

(8 Posts)
girlinacoma Sat 27-Feb-16 08:23:41

Ok well fair enough I suppose, we do need to attract more women into STEM subjects.

But which 'bright spark' (pun intended) at EDF, decided it was a good idea to call their campaign the 'Pretty Curious' campaign?

www.edfenergy.com/STEM/pretty-curious

Where the hell do I start with this?

They 'helpfully' try to reassure us that "It's not about being ‘pretty’; it’s about being ‘pretty curious’. Using 'pretty' is a play on words"

Ermmm, would that be a play on words about pretty women and girls then EDF?

Even the word 'curious' is a smack in the face. Women don't seriously want to pursue a career in STEM surely, but EDF are willing to concede that they may be 'curious' about it angry

This little nugget is also breathtakingly patronising "We want to appeal to girls who might not realise that these types of careers also need people who are creative, entrepreneurial and collaborative – not just those who are logical or analytical"

They then go on to introduce us to two inspiring roll models, "Jenny and Florence" who are driving the science and technology behind an app (fashion) on a teenage girl’s phone and a new brand of cosmetics"

But wait for it - because this really is the best bit - the competition they ran as part of the campaign to encourage more women into stem - was won by a boy grin

So there you go girls, that will teach you to start meddling in science and technology angry

Katenka Sat 27-Feb-16 08:26:25

It was opened up to both genders before it ran this year I believe.

I would like to know why that decisions was made.

Given the new rules I don't have an issue with who won. I don't think a girl should have won just because it was meant to be aimed at girls.

More that the rules shouldn't have been changed iyswim.

I do have an issue with the name and why it was opened up given its original aim.

MathsFiend Sat 27-Feb-16 08:27:33

For fuck's sake! angry

Surely we should be trying to show that it is just as normal to be logical and analytical if you are female as it appears to be if you are male. Not that woman are inherently more creative ec.

theycallmemellojello Sat 27-Feb-16 09:06:17

I think gender is a difficult subject.

Gender identities ARE differently constructed in society and I find that 'gender neutral' approaches end up de facto favouring men. Personally I think it might be helpful to describe traditionally male subjects in female gendered terms. Obviously men are not inherently more logical, but historically logic has been conceived as a male gendered concept. I think that in encouraging women it's important to acknowledge the value of historically female gendered concepts (eg creativity) as well as emphasising that these gender-associations are out-dated and that logic and creativity are open to all.

To put it another way, being horrified that prettiness and a fashion app are being associated with science seems to me to be motivated by the same scorn for traditionally feminine things that has kept women out of science in the first place. Best to break down the boundaries altogether.

theycallmemellojello Sat 27-Feb-16 09:12:24

To put it another way. Imagine a little girl now - she's obsessed with frozen, pink and princesses. (Not all little girls are like this, but some are.) She grows up, and she continues to have non-unusual lttle girl obsessions - first boybands, then as she becomes a teenager she gets into makeup, fashion vloggers, the Kardashians, Instagram... She's also fantastically good at science. Why should someone like that feel there is a contradiction between the two sides of her personality? Why should she not acknowledge that the creativity/collaborative awareness/etc that she feels she values in her private life and her hobbies will also be assets in her career - ie she can become a great scientist not 'despite' her interests and personality but because of them.

It is obviously important that being into make-up etc is not promoted as a norm for women and girls. But I object to the view that interests predominantly held by women should be treated as a dirty little secret, not to be mentioned in the serious field of science.

KristenBell Sat 27-Feb-16 10:56:55

I do think there's a stereotype of the type of woman that does science jobs, and like the girl in jello's example, society doesn't like women who have a contradictory personality and preferences.

Personally I love "girly" things, having my brows done, painting my nails, clothes, can talk about hair products for years, but at the same time I work in a traditionally masculine, logical role, I love geeky maths and physics, and I can map read better than my male OH grin

Why can't we have it all? Life is more interesting when people have different hobbies and interests.

Cornettoninja Sat 27-Feb-16 11:16:32

If we're starting with the logic that society has ingrained feminine ideals then it makes sense you would market to existing preferences.

If your intention is to break into a section of society then surely it's more effective to use cultural markers that they're already familiar with than try to entice them to a new subject/field with completely rigid and alien communication.

You mold to the market and work from there rather than the other way around surely?

*disclaimer - I haven't looked at the link smile

Cornettoninja Sat 27-Feb-16 11:23:23

Just looked at the link - I don't think it's awful tbh. They're not trying to reach out to women/girls already interested in a career in the sciences, they're trying to attract precisely the kind of women who have been engulfed in the pinkification of society and appeal to what they find familiar.

Don't see the problem with that myself, surely this is the first step of a long term goal?

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