[COLUMN] Sanitary Panels: How to interview women in STEM (comic)

14 March 2018

You know what women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) say - We are waiting for the day that we are not so unique, and there are many of us in these fields.

Sanitary Panels does a web comic series on gender and technology including discrimination faced by women in STEM education and careers. Here we show what happens when women in technology are singled out and interviewed.

Image description
How to interview women in STEM

Don'ts on panels on the left

  • How was it like being the only woman on the research team?
  • Was it tough juggling work and family?
  • What was your diet like with your busy schedule?

Dos on panels on the right

  • What methodology did you use for your research?
  • What were the biggest challenges you faced?
  • What drives your work?

Last year we interviewed Judith Owigar about the journey and the pressures of being a woman coder. You can read the interview here.

About the pressures on women in technology Judith Owigar says - "It is definitely harder for women who don’t fit the norm of what a woman should be, especially in STEM careers. First it is hard to be here. When we first started – it was hard to be feminine and good at your job. These were mutually exclusive. And as more women stand up, we see different kinds of women and that’s very important.

As more women stand up, we see different kinds of women and that’s very important.

One thing I read when I started working on this – the day i see a crappy female developer that will be the day we have achieved something. Because right now for a woman developer to just be there, she has to be really good."

Christina Dhanaraj says about caste diversity in corporate and technology work spaces in India - "A study by the Center for Social Studies in Gujarat also concluded, that based on a sample of top 1000 companies listed in the Indian stock exchanges for 2010, caste-based diversity was non-existent, and nearly 65% of corporate board members were from ‘upper’ caste groups."

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