Wednesday, February 15, 2012

women and technical stuff

During the last two weeks I encountered two very different situations, which both fall under the topic "women and technical stuff".
1) the situation that was more familiar to me:
I asked one of our lab managers if we have a drill, because I need to drill a hole in a table. He said, that for sure we have one and I can have it any time after properly being inducted in the schools workshop. Then I could even use all the other fantastic tools that we have there. And the he asked, if I'm good with tools, because maybe it would be a better idea to ask one of the guys - means one of my PhD students - to do that for me. After reassuring that I have seen and used a hammer and a drill before without hurting myself, he agreed to give me the induction for the workshop.
 2) the situation that pleased me more:
A piece of equipment broke down in the lab and because we thought, there might be a problem with the labs electrical grounding, an electrician came by to have a look at it. Even though there were two male lab managers in the room he nearly exclusively talked to the person in charge - me.

Ever since the first time I got a washing machine delivered and hooked up, had questions about my Internet connection or wanted to buy a mobile phone, there were men, who ignored me and talked to my male companion instead or - if there was no male companion - lectured me about technical stuff as if I had been living in a pink, glittering Barbie world before. I got used to that by now and mostly I don't take it personally - I just think its stupid.
However, once in a while there are guys like the electrician, who just take your questions seriously and try to help YOU - not the random guys, who happen to stand beside you.  And I have the impression these kind of guys are slowly becoming more...   
I really like that! It makes my day! 

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