Getting to gender equity: From the Oscars to science competitions
Comedian Chris Rock talked about not needing ‘his’ and ‘her’ acting awards. A British science competition begun just for girls became controversial when a boy won the top prize.
Published: February 29, 2016 3:03 pm EST”
What do Oscars host Chris Rock and a British science competition have in common?
They’re both courting controversy over gender equality.
Chris Rock’s suggested that the Academy Awards should get rid of “his” and “hers” acting categories. In the UK, some are railing over a boy being awarded the top prize in a science contest that was originally created for girls only.
In th UK, Pretty Curious – an energy company initiative based on the notion of getting girls interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) – ended up delivering its top prize to a 13-year-old boy this week.
Chess grandmaster Susan Polgar, who founded the first all-girl national chess tournament in the US – the Susan Polgar Foundation Girls’ Invitational 13 years ago, says in an interview that sticking with the all-girl format would have been more productive for retention of girls in STEM, not to level the playing field but to foster confidence and networking among girls and women in STEM.
“Girls generally feel more comfortable (up to a certain age) doing activities with others of the same gender,” Ms. Polgar says. “Therefore, an all-girls event usually leads to more participation.”