Why Are Too Few Females in Robotics? Could It Be the Robots?
Why Are Too Few Females in Robotics? Could It Be the Robots? - Robotics Business Review
Of the 444 robot builders representing 24 robot entrants only 23 builders are women.
Of the 444 robot builders representing 24 robot entrants only 23 builders are women.
As long as women are not paid the same as men for the same job - something s fundamentally broken.
The part I don't get is why more of the students in robotics and computer science are not women. Every woman that I have ever met or known in the field is smart, talented and brings new perspectives to the table.
It is the same with women clergy! - But there - there is starting to be gender balance in terms of numbers (in many parts of the country and at most schools. There remains an opportunity gap - Not as many women are in top positions and as Bishops - though we are completing the term of our first woman Presiding Bishop! ;-)
I found the article to be very strange and somewhat offensive. Is there really a need to make a machine have a gender? Humanoid has some advantages, but in most cases more disadvantages. If I was in hospital and woke up to a "female" robot hovering over me I'd probably start screaming wondering when they planned to start harvesting my organs. Maybe once we have Asimov robots living among us it would be important to give them gender and personalities, although the kink factor starts to go up quite quickly. I looked at the Valkyrie robot noted as being a "female" robot, and does a hard plastic "chest" and stereotypical hands-on-hips nagging wife pose really get young women more interested in robots?
The comment that the CMU team should have had a "token" female was offensive, but if the article was tongue in cheek it would almost make sense as the type of humor attempted in the link in erco's post above.
Should Parallax reissue the ActivityBot as model m and model f (blue & pink, or with a one piece / two piece bathing suit, or crew cut / pigtails accessories? -- free use license if they choose to do so.) Of course the folks building the ABot may decide to dress-up their robot, but that's part of the fun of designing/building.
The big question is why to young girls seem to enjoy robots (parallax site news page), but don't play at the college level? Do we just have to wait until the younger generation grows up, or is it similar to boys & model trains from my generation - love them before puberty, but then hormones take over. Then once hormones are more under control interest may come back (or be replaced by other big boy toys)?
It's taken a hundred years for women to make headway in the field of medical practice. In the "old days" men were the doctors, and women were the nurses. Now it's pretty common for your doctor to be a woman. It's been a slow drive toward this. We tend to forget how long this generational change took place.
I think this is an answer looking for a question. Anthropomorphizing the generic robot is common among the population, but I cringe when robotics researchers do it. They observe a change in participation and acceptance when a humanoid robot is non threatening and gender-neutral, and conjecture what it all means in the larger world. Much of this is a learned response -- the evil robots in fiction tend to be dominant and towering male figures. From an early age, kids are accustomed to seeing the nice and gentle robots as those who resemble prey (cute kawaii rabbits with big soulful eyes) rather than predator (gleaming steel, red eyes). Society is conditioned to adopt this preference.
We can't escape being influenced by the depiction of fictional robots. But I'm not sure everyone sees this field, as a career, in such black and white terms. I think if schools work on developing more females in the disciplines that go into robotics, you'll see more females in robotics. To me it's a simple formula. There are enough examples of all kinds of robots to encourage new students, regardless of their gender.
Citing the stats of the recent DARPA challenge in Pomona to prove the point is misleading. American researchers tend to look at the statistics with American values, but not all societies treat gender the same way. Robotics research is an international endeavor, where Asian countries continue to dominate. In many of these countries, especially in the fields of engineering, there still remains very strong gender role identities. They don't build robots because it's not something "girls are supposed to do." It has nothing to do with not wanting to build male robots, whatever those are.
Last Saturday I attended the commencement ceremony of the UCLA School of Engineering, and was very pleasantly surprised at the number of women graduates. Particularly in the number of women being awarded advanced degrees, and it was pretty much across all of the engineering disciplines. As Gordon wrote, change is slow, but I think it is happening.
I'm not in favor of forcing women into the field to please a social scientist. Nor do I think excluding men from the field is a good option.
I personally think men and women are different. I think the biggest difference between the sexes lies between the ears (in the brain).
Little children self segregate among the sexes. I don't think little boys like to play with toy guns and little girls like to play with dolls because society is telling them to do so. I think there are lots of traits which are hardwired based on one's sex.
I've notice just about all kids like to build things with Lego. However this desire is not equal between the two sexes. In general boys appear to enjoy making things with Lego bricks more than girls do. Of course not all boys like to build with Lego more than all girls but on average boys tend to enjoy this activity more than girls. Is this a bad thing? I think not. I do think it would be wrong to prohibit a girl from from pursuing an activity which is generally considered a male activity.
I think girls should be given every opportunity boys are to build robots. I don't think girls should be forced to build robots.
I think you'll find a lot people (myself included) not willing to grant the premise behind this statement. I thought the whole "pay gap" disappeared once one factored in the different choices made by men and women.
I think the only way to insure men and women are paid the same is to create a dictatorship which prohibits people from choosing how they live their lives (and removes a woman's ability to bare children).
More women now go to college than men. Should we stop them so things are equal? I think not. Unless we're willing to change humans into some sort of androgynous species, I think men and women will make different choices on how they spend their time and which careers they pursue.
I think girls should be encouraged to pursue STEM subjects. I also think boys should be encouraged to do likewise. I don't think we have to feel bad if equal numbers of boys and girls don't end up pursuing these subjects as long the choice is freely made by the individuals.
Hard for me to believe that equal pay is still a controversial subject, but it is (that is why we don't have it). I don't know any women who would choose to make less for equal work. And no man would want to be paid less for any choice about when he decided to work or not work. Why would we punish those with the vastly more important task of giving birth, which (incidentally), men have something to do with too. Would we pay men who choose to be fathers any less because of that choice?
Not trying to start an argument. I just really don't get it - as a husband or the father of a daughter.
I'd prefer to think of this as more of a friendly debate. I like to think my mind is open to change. When I was young I knew all the answers as I grow older I realize I don't know anything and my opinions grow less emphatic.
I agree men and women are not paid the same but I don't think there is anything sinister or "broken" about it. Few women chose to be truck drivers. Women often choose jobs which pay less. Many women don't place a high priority on careers.
Once one adjusts the figures for choices women make the difference in pay disappears. At least this is what I've heard from talk radio shows on NPR (and I think NPR is kind of liberal). I don't have links to the studies quoted by the sources I've heard but I'd be willing to try to find them. I'd also be interested in seeing studies suggesting women are paid less by virtue of being a woman and not for the choices they make.
Nor do I. But I do know women who would choose different jobs than men. I think it's important to include "equal work" when comparing wages.
Agreed, men don't want to be paid less. I think a man would likely make less money if they were to limit their job choices to occupations women tend to limit themselves to.
Do we punish them? I know I've seen lots of examples of women who take their maternity leave then come back to work only to leave a few days later because the desire to care for their child themselves to stronger than their desire to continue working. There are lots of women who don't have the financial resources to make this choice but I think when leaving work is an option many women choose this route.
Should not paying women for not working be considered punishment?
It depends. Does the father still work? If not, then yes they wouldn't get paid. Does the father limit his career choices in order to spend more time with his family? If yes then he probably gets paid less.
I don't understand the "Would we pay" part of the question. "We" generally don't get to decide who gets paid what. The only time I get to decide anyones wage is when the person is working for me. I rarely have more than two employees (more frequently the number is less than one) but I certainly don't want to pay someone to be a parent. I want to pay someone to make me money. I was certainly willing to work around someone's schedule when the employee was a parent (I think I've only hired one parent, my employees are usually high school or college kids).
I think it's the market forces which determine the pay of people. If businesses could hire women to do the same work as men for less money I don't think there would be many men employed.
I'm willing to listen to counterclaims. If someone knows of a study suggesting women get paid less for equal work I'd like to see a link to it.
The problem arises when some people arbitrarily think that profession x should y amounts females and refusing to take into account differences in the sexes as far as work choices are concerned.
In general few people go the STEM route, the course work is hard, there is a nasty cull rate and unless you really like doing tech work and sitting in a windowless cube farm 10 hours a day, it's not for you.
Even for a lot of guys it's not attractive.
I think entrepreneurs like Limor Fried at Adafruit are making great strides in creating gender-neutral and testosterone-free projects that have a broad appeal. She has on many occasions showcased electronic designs by women, offering some for sale at her online store. There are other women designers out there, including an occasional Parallax forum participant, that has created electronic gizmos specifically tailored for use by women (I won't get into the specifics, thanks! - I blush easily). All this is a small beginning, but I think it's helping to change the perception of what mechanical and electrical engineering is about. That and a few other changes will bring more females into the study of robotics and electronics.
I can stand here saying we need more women in robotics, but it means 100X more when Carol says it. So, Carol, keep saying it!
I'm not willing to concede the video is balanced but it probably does accurately state the pay gap. It does absolutely nothing to support the claim women receive less for equal work. As the video points out women make different choices than men regarding their careers. I not certain of it, but I think these choices are the cause of the pay gap not some broken system.
I think the close in the pay gap was caused by the changes in the decisions people have made. I don't see how the gap could ever close completely as long men and women tend to make different life choices. Based on the graph it looks like the gap may be as small as it's going to get unless humans become an androgynous species (BTW I vote NO on the androgynous species option).
I just want to address the "soldier" search statement.
If there is one field which is justified in being considered primarily male it is combat. Women's bodies are not physically strong enough to endure the punishment combat training places on a body. Women's pelvises fracture if the run the same distance with the same packs as their male counterparts. The physical requirements for women have to be reduced in order for them to complete military training without being severely injured.
If one wants a picture of a strongest warriors then one really needs to use a picture of a male soldier. It's not society's fault it's biology's fault.
I know the search term wasn't "strongest soldier" but just "soldier" but I think the example of more men soldiers showing up in the search results is very understandable considering the huge advantage men's physiology gives them in combat over women.
BTW, I think Adafruit is great too.
I'm all for girls and women being involved in STEM subjects I just don't think it's reasonable to expect them to be interested in nearly the same numbers as boys and men (though I don't know if anyone here has suggested this should be the case).
That is what I meant by it being a balance argument.
The fact that a gap remains is the other side...
Then we're running out of things to argue about debate.
Duane, You're entirely missing the point, which is there are women in the military, who are soldiers (and airmen and Marines and sailors), in and out of combat, and Google is reflecting the clicks users make. It reflects a societal perception.
I do take it back about the 99.999%. Apparently it's 99.9998%. Within the first 50 images or so I saw one drawing of female solider in a scanty top, big breasts busting out, and in a sexually alluring pose.
I didn't see the scantily clad soldier but I saw these:
I know Google results are tailored to the user so we probably aren't seeing the same images.
I typed "soldier" into the search bar and in the first 7 lines there were a total of 55 photos. Of these photos the gender of the soldier was only apparent in 48 of the images. Of these 48 images 45 were male and 3 were female. So I get 93.75% male. Though now I'm not sure what the point my contrariness was supposed to prove.
I think I was proving I'm pretty good at procrastinating the things I should be doing.
Could it be the robot?
I can think of plenty of reasons why it's the robot. What it does and the way it looks play very important rolls. The S3 should be a big hit, I think something like that is more attractive to anyone regardless of gender.
Way to go erco! You always do your part!
What does that say about me? I started this thread! Back to work! erco's twins are getting ahead of us!
Now who's starting trouble?
A for the combat situation, I read some SF decades ago (sadly do not remember the title). Main plot of the book was the reversal of the gender roles. Men stayed at home, taking care of the children while women went hunting. The stated reason was obvious. The genitals of men are way more prone to get hurt while jumping over brushes then the female ones. Thus males needed to be protected and women needed to hunt.
Sure. Males are usually stronger then females. But females usually have more endurance over time. So actually female jet pilots can take more g's then male ones. It's about the mass involved. At the time combat involved swords and heavy protective clothing a male was better off on the field as a female. But I do not see any reason why a female tank driver or gunner, pilot or navigator will do less good than the male equivalent.
But the main point is that females still get less pay for the same job - usually - then men. If it is Walmart or the factory floor of car companies. It is like that. At least a couple of cents per hour. Everywhere I worked it was like that. Given reason for that? None. But it is like that in Germany as well as in the US of A.
It is about the upbringing and the role models connected to that. Males are usually trained to be 'leaders', and females are usually trained to be 'submissive'. It is not always like that, but generally it is. And it is accepted by the society.
I do not want to get in trouble with some member here, but if them twins would be male, they would probably get some other upbringing as being princesses. So males and females develop different because of different upbringing. Other goals and other feelings about situations.
And this is a good thing. Because males and females have to be different or they simply would not be interested in each other and mankind would go extinct.
So to go back to the topic I am sure that there are less females into robotic (and programming) because both involves taking 'control' over the computer or robot. That is the whole fun of it. You build something and it does what you want. Or not. Next round.
So it's about that 'leader' role. And most girls do not learn that. Different upbringing.
Later on most women usually find out (while growing up) to lead indirectly. Behind every successful man is a strong women.
my 2 cents
Then I know a lot of wives who would br GREAT roboticists.