Author Topic: Why do people assume if youre a girl that you don't understand electronics?  (Read 14631 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JPortici

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2645
  • Country: it
Electronics enthusiasts are plenty at our local retail (Jaycar Australia), but can’t necessarily work in EE, or any related discipline.

and i don't work there anymore :)
 

Offline German_EE

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2400
  • Country: de
I know of two female radio amateurs who are far better electronics engineers than I am:

http://www.myhamshack.com/AA4HA/

https://soldersmoke.blogspot.de/2016/02/design-wisdom-from-allison-kb1gmx.html

Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

Warren Buffett
 
The following users thanked this post: NiHaoMike

Offline dmills

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1766
Those two are pretty hardcore.

99% of PEOPLE do not understand electronics, the issue is probably largely cultural, but what can you do?

I think it is probably some mixture of sales types playing the numbers and the sales staff typically being young men (With all that that often implies) who do not perhaps have much experience with women and especially with the notion that a woman can be every bit as competent as a man at this stuff.

Got to be really aggravating to deal with day in, day out however, and I am not too sure there is really much you can do about it, I have friends who say the car parts place can also be aggravating this way, for the same reason.

Regards, Dan.
 

Online NiHaoMike

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6270
  • Country: us
  • "Don't turn it on - Take it apart!"
    • Facebook Page
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 

Offline Zero999

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 14208
  • Country: gb
  • 0999
I'm sure many of you here can relate to that...  :-DD

But I noticed when I walk into places like micro center and the sales associate calls me miss he often just talks to me like I have no clue as to what I am doing verse a year a go when I walking there dressed like a guy; when I was a guy, they were more help full but still incompetent as to the knowledge of their products.
Well that must be frustrating, but fortunately you're allowed to be transgender now.
I wish I lived in 1950's America. That's why people are not happy now adays the wife is all stressed with work and can't properly care for her husband's needs which come first to the women's..
Back then people like you would have been labelled, a faggot, queer, poof etc. beaten up and thrown in jail.

Which would you prefer?

Unfortunately people are biased. I've often wondered what sort of reaction I'd get if I went out in town dressed as a women, or just changed the colour of my skin? I've never dared to do it, especially as I wouldn't want someone I know recognising me, but it would be interesting. I'd also wonder what would happen if I went out blacked up, got arrested for no reason, then the police discovered I'm really white.

It would interest me even more if I could travel back in time and compare how people treated me if I were black, compared to being white, but of course that's impossible.
 

Online NiHaoMike

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 6270
  • Country: us
  • "Don't turn it on - Take it apart!"
    • Facebook Page
It's sad when girls have to disguise themselves as guys in order to avoid the negative stereotypes. I remember reading (not sure if true or not) that Naomi once used an online name that suggested she was a guy or at least what everyone assumed to be a guy.

It's also interesting to note that my friend who used to do HVAC service rarely had problems with gender bias, only like one or two instances of the customer insisting the company send "an old and experienced guy". I suppose that when it's over 100 with high humidity outside, customers just want their A/C to be working ASAP...
Cryptocurrency has taught me to love math and at the same time be baffled by it.

Cryptocurrency lesson 0: Altcoins and Bitcoin are not the same thing.
 

Offline vk6zgo

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 5373
  • Country: au
I know of two female radio amateurs who are far better electronics engineers than I am:

http://www.myhamshack.com/AA4HA/

https://soldersmoke.blogspot.de/2016/02/design-wisdom-from-allison-kb1gmx.html
Another very knowledgeable lady is our very own Sue, AF6LJ.
 
The following users thanked this post: NiHaoMike

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1745
  • Country: au
In Australia, men prefer Weller and women prefer Wella. But assume nothing. Some sales dude assuming a woman does not know much about electronics is a bit like Starbucks calling in the cops on two "African Americans" because they entered the store and sat down without buying a coffee is pure discrimination on an individual.

The message is pretty powerful...




 

Offline brucehoult

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1533
  • Country: us
  • Formerly SiFive, Samsung R&D
You might be interested to know that when I (a 50+ yr old compiler engineer) walk into an electronics shop, if there is a young woman working there, I always go to her for any questions or advice, not the guys.

If a woman is putting herself into that environment you can be pretty sure she's genuinely interested in the subject and actually knows something about it. Most of the guys are just faking it and passing through and have an inflated idea of their own knowledge.
 
The following users thanked this post: alexanderbrevig

Online jpanhalt

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 810
  • Country: us
You might be interested to know that when I (a 50+ yr old compiler engineer) walk into an electronics shop, if there is a young woman working there, I always go to her for any questions or advice, not the guys.

If a woman is putting herself into that environment you can be pretty sure she's genuinely interested in the subject and actually knows something about it. Most of the guys are just faking it and passing through and have an inflated idea of their own knowledge.

Yep, 50+ year old geek out fishing needs to keep his line wet.  Good advice.
 

Offline brucehoult

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1533
  • Country: us
  • Formerly SiFive, Samsung R&D
You might be interested to know that when I (a 50+ yr old compiler engineer) walk into an electronics shop, if there is a young woman working there, I always go to her for any questions or advice, not the guys.

If a woman is putting herself into that environment you can be pretty sure she's genuinely interested in the subject and actually knows something about it. Most of the guys are just faking it and passing through and have an inflated idea of their own knowledge.

Yep, 50+ year old geek out fishing needs to keep his line wet.  Good advice.

Ahahahaha. You clearly haven't seen my wife :p
 

Offline Zero999

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 14208
  • Country: gb
  • 0999
In Australia, men prefer Weller and women prefer Wella. But assume nothing. Some sales dude assuming a woman does not know much about electronics is a bit like Starbucks calling in the cops on two "African Americans" because they entered the store and sat down without buying a coffee is pure discrimination on an individual.

The message is pretty powerful...

Interesting video.

At first it made be laugh, not because I find being abusive to people funny, but because I couldn't believe someone could be that bigoted, then it brought tears to my eyes when I saw people stand up to the bigotry.

I'm not surprised the majority of people did nothing. It's often the safest thing to do and whilst I don't condone it, I understand why
 

Offline medical-nerd

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 194
  • Country: gb
  • What's that coming over the hill?
Hiya

Unfortunately stereotypes exist in every area. Its not unusual to have a female doctor - males and females train together and are treated by each other during training as equals unless cultural differences overwhelm common sense. In postgraduate training the stereotypes start - between medicine and surgery and within subspecialisation. How often do you see a female surgeon - unless it is in ophthalmic or obstetric surgery?

Cheers
'better to burn out than fade away'
 

Offline Canis Dirus Leidy

  • Regular Contributor
  • *
  • Posts: 152
  • Country: ru
It seems to be a largely western phenomenon. In former USSR and China today, female EEs are not unusual.
Well, can't say about China, but in USSR the involvement of women in the industry and public activities has been officially promoted from the very beginning:


P.S. I can't name exact figures, but during my student times (late 90s - early 2000s) the ratio of guys and girls was, if not equal, then close to that. And the woman teaching classes like "Electrical machines" or "(Electrical) Networks analyzing" has not seemed to be something amazing.
 

Online Mr. Scram

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 9339
  • Country: 00
  • Display aficionado
It's not just a boy versus girl thing. I get approached quite differently sometimes when I'm in my coveralls than when I'm in a suit. People need stereotypes to make some sense of the world. Unfortunately that means classifying people wrongly regularly, but starting with a blank slate every time you meet someone new is apparently not doable for the human brain.
 

Online nctnico

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 19753
  • Country: nl
    • NCT Developments
It's not just a boy versus girl thing. I get approached quite differently sometimes when I'm in my coveralls than when I'm in a suit. People need stereotypes to make some sense of the world. Unfortunately that means classifying people wrongly regularly, but starting with a blank slate every time you meet someone new is apparently not doable for the human brain.
I agree. Most women in technical jobs have technical outfits. The famous ones like Micah and Jeri all wear checkered wood-chopper button up shirts and so have the women in technical jobs I have met so far. Or they wear some kind of T-shirt.  The pink platform heels Beamin was wearing don't fit in that picture.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Offline Nominal Animal

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1725
  • Country: fi
    • My home page and email address
I'd separate the encounters into two (or three) categories.

One is when a salesperson approaches you, or you ask somebody you do not know for a hand for a second, and they make an incorrect assumption of the situation.  You could be there with a buddy, and they assume you are a couple; or they could assume that because you look a certain way, you don't know much about a specific field. While this is annoying/irritating, it means no harm, because the assumption was made without any proper information, only appearance, and the underlying intent is just to help.

(Even as a male, I do encounter this quite often personally. As a coping mechanism, I usually describe my problem with a clear indicator of my knowledge level in the subject embedded. For example, if I am looking for a specific electronic component, I might say I need it for the first PCB I've designed myself, or that I do not yet have a hot-air soldering station, only a temperature-controlled one that I'm quite comfortable with; or if I am looking for a specific type of paint, I might mention paints and varnishes I've successfully used in the past. I describe the problem first; include clear signs of my knowledge level, or even state it outright; and only then describe the solution I think should work and need help with, and listen to their suggestions. This seems to work for me, although I do feel I'm TMI!ing all the time.)

The other is when a person ignores what you say, and instead go solely based on their assumptions.

That is absolutely infuriating, and I've encountered that personally from all sorts of people, from doctors to winos on the street.  Not too often, though.  There seem to be two groups of such people: the truly stupid ones (who simply cannot fathom the situation, and simply go by their instincts, without a rational thought ever crossing their mind) who I don't think can be really categorized as sentient beings; and those who are completely uninsterested in you, your problem, or helping you in any way, but need something out of you, even if it is just for you to leave.  If they are paid to help you, then they belong to the group of people who should be fired, and you should feel free to completely avoid, ignore, and denigrate them as much as you like.  The two groups overlap when people are overworked or just too tired to function well, in which case be gentle.

I do not want the aforementioned categories mixed, because I do feel the first category is basically innocent (even if bigoted or prejudiced or presumptive, it is not like they knew anything about me except my appearance); the stupid and the overworked cannot help themselves; and only the self-centered ones do deserve hard push-back on their behaviour.
 

Offline gildasd

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 930
  • Country: be
  • Engineering watch officer - Apprentice Officer
    • Sci-fi Meanderings
It's not just a boy versus girl thing. I get approached quite differently sometimes when I'm in my coveralls than when I'm in a suit. People need stereotypes to make some sense of the world. Unfortunately that means classifying people wrongly regularly, but starting with a blank slate every time you meet someone new is apparently not doable for the human brain.
I agree. Most women in technical jobs have technical outfits. The famous ones like Micah and Jeri all wear checkered wood-chopper button up shirts and so have the women in technical jobs I have met so far. Or they wear some kind of T-shirt.  The pink platform heels Beamin was wearing don't fit in that picture.
True.
I’m a man, but get treated like a homegamer if I walk into a pro hardware store in sneaker n’ Tshirt. If I go to the same place in engineering company overalls, safety glasses on my head, worse for wear hard shoes and a cloud of dust following me... They don’t even try to bullshit, I get the good stuff, they mark it down without asking and i’m out in minutes.
I'm electronically illiterate
 

Offline james_s

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 12067
  • Country: us
I agree. Most women in technical jobs have technical outfits. The famous ones like Micah and Jeri all wear checkered wood-chopper button up shirts and so have the women in technical jobs I have met so far. Or they wear some kind of T-shirt.  The pink platform heels Beamin was wearing don't fit in that picture.

In my last job I worked with an absolutely brilliant older woman who is a software engineer, she was more often than not wearing jeans and frumpy sweaters with cats on them.
 

Offline brucehoult

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1533
  • Country: us
  • Formerly SiFive, Samsung R&D
It seems to be a largely western phenomenon. In former USSR and China today, female EEs are not unusual.
Well, can't say about China, but in USSR the involvement of women in the industry and public activities has been officially promoted from the very beginning

My 46 year old wife is from Russia. She was a computer programmer for a few years before she went back to university to do graphic design. Her 70 year old mother was a programmer too.

Quote
P.S. I can't name exact figures, but during my student times (late 90s - early 2000s) the ratio of guys and girls was, if not equal, then close to that.

At university in New Zealand in the early 1980s my computer science classes were about 40% females, 60% males. My math classes were the opposite.
 

Offline JPortici

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 2645
  • Country: it
You might be interested to know that when I (a 50+ yr old compiler engineer) walk into an electronics shop, if there is a young woman working there, I always go to her for any questions or advice, not the guys.

If a woman is putting herself into that environment you can be pretty sure she's genuinely interested in the subject and actually knows something about it. Most of the guys are just faking it and passing through and have an inflated idea of their own knowledge.


or is just another sale rep, as almost every rep i worked with, they knew just enough they needed to do their job. some had interest in the things they were selling and knew a bit more, some didn't
or may be the shop's owner daughter (in my local version of radioshack, I once asked but they weren't hiring. a week later there was a new girl there, clueless about anything.. electronics and sales.)
 

Offline EEVblog

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 31396
  • Country: au
    • EEVblog
It's not just a boy versus girl thing. I get approached quite differently sometimes when I'm in my coveralls than when I'm in a suit. People need stereotypes to make some sense of the world. Unfortunately that means classifying people wrongly regularly, but starting with a blank slate every time you meet someone new is apparently not doable for the human brain.

It's doable, but most likely people learn that stereotypes give you a better first shot at something, less time wasted etc.
e.g. if I'm at the hardware store and I need to ask for something technical and I have the choice of approaching the young 18yo kid or the 60yo grey beard with the hand that look like he's straight out the shed, I'm going for the grey beard. The odds are simply much greater that I'll get the answer I want with minimal time wasted.
 

Offline Miyuki

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 384
  • Country: cz
    • Me on youtube
From my experience, I know 3 situations:
- Oh a woman she knows nothing, but carry her a heavy stuff
- Shock, confusion, admire
- They think Im a young boy  ::) let them this way it is easier for booth sides
 

Offline Psi

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 7598
  • Country: nz
When you meet someone for the first time your subconscious brain instantly creates a 'dynamic model' of that person based on all the info it currently has available.
Their looks, clothes, the environment they're in etc.. every tiny piece of info, all used.

It then uses this internal dynamic model of the person to predict everything it doesn't know about them.

This all takes like a millisecond, now your brain thinks it knows this person. (Until more info is available to improve the dynamic model)

It cannot easily tell what info is fact and what is invented.

« Last Edit: May 07, 2018, 12:47:35 pm by Psi »
Greek letter 'Psi' (not Pounds per Square Inch)
 

Offline VK3DRB

  • Super Contributor
  • ***
  • Posts: 1745
  • Country: au
Two stories: the first one happened about a month ago; the second one about 8 years ago.

I was at at an RF semiconductor seminar on some leading edge technology recently. At lunchtime, I noticed many nerds, geeks and dags chatting to their colleagues or new acquaintances. I also noticed a young Muslim woman in a hijab there standing on her own, being ignored by all and sundry. Sure she looked like a fish out of water, but I went up to her and introduced myself and we had a chat. It turned out she is a delightful young electronics engineer doing her Masters Degree in microwave RF technology, loves electronics and is working as an intern at a well known electronics company. She is now on my Linked-In account and I asked her to call me when she has graduated in case we need another engineer in satellite communications :-+.

An acquaintance of mine is an extremely wealthy entrepreneur. But he is a down to earth Aussie who wore a blue singlet and shorts into some Melbourne Mercedes dealerships to test drive a high end sports car. He was virtually shown the door at two dealerships after he asked for a test drive. He went to a third dealership who treated him with respect and let him test drive the car. After he finished the test drive, the bloke ordered TWO - one for his brother and one for him - a half million dollar sale. The word had got around and the first dealer called him after he heard of the big sale, saying "Sorry we were busy but if you ever want sell, please call us to get a good deal." He promptly told that dealer where he can go in rather colourful language :clap:.

Assume nothing, expect anything.


 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf