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sparkly labcoats

(226 Posts)
No1blueengine Fri 18-Aug-17 12:24:57

I work for a major international financial institution. HR sponsor various special interest alliances within the company which lobby for their causes. One of the special interest alliances is "Women and Allies". It concerns itself with promoting equality in the workplace, etc etc.

They have managed to obtain some funding to host a STEM event. Women are hugely underrepresented in our actuarial and data analysis dept and the alliance would like to encourage girls and young women to consider careers in these fields. They have invited a boatload of girls from local secondary schools to attend one of our sites for an day long STEM event in September.

I received an invitation yesterday for my daughter(s). Apparently the girls will spend the morning decorating lab coats before hearing from a range of speakers about STEM careers.

Decorating lab coats. I shit you not.

My jaw hit the floor. i thought it must be joke but apparently it is not. I keep trying to draft an email to the organizers but i cant get past spluttering outrage. A (female) colleague cant see what i am getting upset about, though thinks the money could have been better spent on pay rises.

I think it is insulting to girls intelligence that the organizers felt they needed to offer this activity (and dedicate such a substantial amount of time to it) to get the girls to attend and reflects the influence of underlying stereotypes on their thinking.

My 14 y/o step daughter built a functional robot in school last term and my 7 y/o daughter is very excited to be going to learn to code in September. Somehow they were both excited by their projects without sparkly lab coat inducements.

Above-mentioned colleague thinks i am getting worked up over nothing. AIBU?

Notknownatthisaddress Fri 18-Aug-17 12:26:10

Do they get the boys doing this too?

If not then it's horribly sexist and demeaning yes.

Notevilstepmother Fri 18-Aug-17 12:26:37

No YANBU. What the actual fuck was my first thought.

GiveMeTheTeaAndNobodyGetsHurt Fri 18-Aug-17 12:28:32

Oh ffs!!! I despair...

BarbaraofSevillle Fri 18-Aug-17 12:28:35

Oh yes. Because we women will never go into science if we can't look pretty while we are doing it. hmm. FFS.

And that's before we get the contamination/hygiene problems that 'sparkly' bits will cause in a lab.

JemmyBloocher Fri 18-Aug-17 12:29:48

This is bloody outrageous. I am seething.

GlitteryGlitter Fri 18-Aug-17 12:30:22


I work in STEM it winds me up when they do this! WTF has decorating a lab coat have to do with STEM?

Unfortunately even institutions such as WES reinforce these bullshit stereotypes with things like how to engineer a cupcake hmm because girls can't possibly be interested in STEM unless they make it more "girly" hmm

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 18-Aug-17 12:30:28


Bloody hell it's giving me the rage and I am not even involved. I have boys and never once on any of their stem events have they had to decorate their lab coats or put on camo make up of boy stuff!

That is really grim!

I'd definitely ask what value it is adding to the event and also what does it suggest to the young women involved?

BenLui Fri 18-Aug-17 12:30:45

So it was beyond the wit of the organisers to come up with a game/competition/activity relating to the actual areas they want to recruit women into?

No1blueengine Fri 18-Aug-17 12:31:19

so glad it is not just me! i keep trying to express my outrage to the organizers but cant get past WTF people!!!

RaininSummer Fri 18-Aug-17 12:31:44

Crikey that is bad.

sashh Fri 18-Aug-17 12:32:34

Please can your daughters put glittery "Fuck off, I like science not sparkles" on the lab coats?

BenLui Fri 18-Aug-17 12:33:23

Apart from anything I'd be pretty annoyed if my teenager missed classroom time to decorate a lab coat.

chemenger Fri 18-Aug-17 12:37:01

Words fail me. So there is nothing that can be done to interest girls in STEM except making it more pink and glittery? Why not something a little more challenging - build a bridge with spaghetti and marshmallows, the classic egg dropping challenge etc etc there are loads of possibilities, and lots of people out there who run this type of thing. Major imagination failure.

Sexykitten2005 Fri 18-Aug-17 12:38:09

My god I'm angry. That is outrageous. Is the agenda online anywhere that we might "come across" it so we can all email to point out how disgusting this is.

soupforbrains Fri 18-Aug-17 12:39:02


soupforbrains Fri 18-Aug-17 12:40:15

Sorry needed to get that out before I could formulate words. I also work in STEM and yes we women are VERY outnumbered but this is as bad as the plans frmo the FA to get girls into football by giving them pink whistles and 'nice smelling bibs' and extra breaks to check their phones grrrrrrr

I cant actually express my rage.....


0ccamsRazor Fri 18-Aug-17 12:42:10


angry angry angry

ThymeLordIsSpartacus Fri 18-Aug-17 12:42:21

I wouldn't want to choose a career path unless I knew I could incorporate sparkles and feathers into my work wardrobe, so this seems reasonable. Oh wait, i'm talking bollocks angry

CMOTDibbler Fri 18-Aug-17 12:43:39

I'm a physicist and I am f-ing outraged at this. Like proper job fuming. I went into physics because I could see the real world problems solved by medical physicists and was totally inspired - one article in New Scientist when I was 13 about NASA helping design prostheses changed my life.

And thats what girls need to be hearing about - why STEM matters, and why what women do makes a direct difference to peoples lives.

Not bloody wasting time decorating lab coats. Teenage me would have organised a protest at that. 40 something me wants to go and wave my lab coat (white with the odd pen stain) outside in protest

Tinkerbec Fri 18-Aug-17 12:46:00


I would rather mix cornstarch and water if they were desperate.

STEM events my school have been to have been pretty good. Decorating lab coats is a new one!

dollydaydream114 Fri 18-Aug-17 12:48:55

This is HORRENDOUS. There are so many brilliant and fun activities they could have arranged that would have been STEM-related and they chose that? Appalling.

FenellaMaxwellsPony Fri 18-Aug-17 12:54:14

WTF is about as much as I can articulate too. Seriously, WTF?!??!!

StickThatInYourPipe Fri 18-Aug-17 12:55:46

Is it a girls only event or are all the children doing it? This would make a difference IMO as if it is the latter it is probably just a random space filler for fun (tbh I would enjoy it and so would my friends son, I am always doing crafty bits with him)

If the former and the boys are doing some kind of cool experiment or something then it is very unfair and completely disgusting tbh

cowgirlsareforever Fri 18-Aug-17 12:56:00

Ridiculous and depressing.

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