“These girls are not only beauty, but also have the brains.” A statement made in a review about a presentation on our research project we, an all-women research team, gave. The writer of the statement surely meant well. I mean, it was a compliment…. however, it sounds as though beauty and brains is an unusual combination. As if it is surprising that women or girls have more to offer than just sit still and look pretty.
I believe that girls in science and technology often have to deal with this kind of stereotyping. Does it feel good when people are surprised and impressed by us? Yes, of course! But should it come as a surprise? No!
Who am I?
This might be a bit of a weird debut in blogging, but it was one of the major points that has brought me to RightBrains. My name is Danielle Tump and I am currently pursuing a masters degree in Artificial Intelligence at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. When meeting new people and letting them guess my field, they often guess I am a psychology or biomedical student: because, you know, why would girls study Artificial Intelligence or anything involving computers or technology?
The next question is often, don’t you feel awkward with all those nerds in your class? I used to laugh it off, not explaining the fact that I was one of those nerds, if not the biggest. I could sit behind a computer screen for hours trying to code my way out of a self-made problem. Would this classify me as a nerd? If I were a boy, certainly!
Almost all of my teachers during my degree have been male. As a result, pursuing a career as professor has never even really crossed my mind. It is a never-ending cycle. The lack of role models leads to unequal distributions of men and women, which leads to a lack of role models again. I am glad to see that companies such as RightBrains and even Schiphol, are devoted towards showing women can do more than just ‘typical women’s jobs’. They want to show that women are just as capable of, for example, running an Artificial Intelligence company or an innovative research project in brain-computer interfacing.
Inspiring young scientists
Did that brain-computer interfacing come a bit out of the blue? Not if you know that the team that I am a part of (yes, that all-women team) is currently conducting research towards brain-computer interfaces. I will tell you more about this in my next blog about the coolest tech innovation!
My team would like to inspire young scientists to pursue whatever they want, without looking at the typical gender-thing to do. Young scientists in general, because the exact same things we say about girls and women count for boys and men. Whether you are a woman interested in a seemingly stereotypical-male field, or a man interested in a stereotypical-female field: go for it!