Showing posts from 2020

Book Review: 'How to be a Woman' by Caitlin Moran

The first time I ever heard Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to Be A Woman’ mentioned was in the postscript of Holly Bourne’s ‘Am I Normal Yet?’ – the book that was my gateway into feminism. It was funny and relatable to me as a young teenager, and managed to deal with the delicate topics of mental illness and misogyny in a way that kept me turning pages. Bourne says that Moran’s work ‘really did change [her] life’ in regards to feminism, so I was super excited to read it when I found it in a bookstore. Yet, it turned out to be different from what I was expecting.  Image of Caitlin Moran. She has long dark hair with a blonde area near the top of her head. She is wearing a red and blue button up flannel shirt.  Being a woman who grew up in the 2000s, I found it difficult to relate to Moran’s 1980s childhood, and found more similarities in Bourne’s books which I loved. Moran argues that humour is necessary for dealing wit

Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Pulsars

    This image shows Bell Burnell as a graduate smiling in front of a radio telescope .   A pulsar is a rapidly spinning dead star chunk that emits beams of electromagnetic radiation, like the lights on a lighthouse, out into space. They were first witnessed in 1967 by astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell and are one of the strangest objects the universe has to offer. In a controversial decision, Bell Burnell missed out on the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery. All the credit went to her thesis professors.   Early Life   Born on July 15 th , 1943, in Belfast, Ireland, Bell Burnell enjoyed science from a young age. Her parents encouraged her interest. When she failed a higher learning exam, they sent her off to England where she would have a better chance of succeeding. She excelled in her classes and went to the University of Glasgow to study a Bachelor of Science majoring in Physi

STEMinist – The Case of the Indian Woman

The more I travel and work in various cities and countries, encountering difficulties as a mechanical engineer in a male-dominated industry, the more I am aware of my privilege growing up in a feminist Indian family. At 12 years old, when I had only recently moved out of India, wanting to be an engineer seemed anything but unusual. Of course, it was convenient for me that most parents in India are obsessed with pushing their children towards STEM-based careers. Girls often outperform boys to bag the coveted 1 st rank in the highly publicized senior board exam results, with impossibly perfect grades in mathematics and science. 1 : The toppers of Central Board of Secondary Education final 12th grade exams in 2019, with their grades As I stepped out of India and met the rest of the world, I found myself more and more alone in classes and then workplaces. Research at Open University found that 35% of specialist technology roles in India are filled by women, compared to 17%

Do We Still Have a Victorian Mindset Towards Women?

We often ridicule the Victorians for their backward views, conservative ways, and blatantly sexist mindsets. However, studying Victorian literature, there are some notable parallels between their attitudes then and our attitudes now. Fiction is a vision into the past– it shows opinions, both personal and public, and manages to convey the wider context in a way studying statistics cannot. It is important to remember that literature is of its time. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ would not be considered   a pioneering feminist novel nowadays, but in 1813 Elizabeth Bennet’s character completely defied the perfect, ‘angel of the house’ archetype that women were expected to strive for; intelligent and fiercely independent, she turned down marriage proposals for her own sake, rather than accepting them as she was expected to. The point is that in an ever-progressing society, these views should have changed. We view ourselves as superior to the Victorians, but in fact, these examples from lite

NASA's First All Women Spacewalk

Meir and Koch. Picture: On October 18 th , 2019, NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir made history. They were the first all-woman team to perform a spacewalk on the International Space Station (ISS). Koch and Meir follow in the footsteps of other pioneering space women. For example, the  first female spacewalk took place 35 years ago. The Historic Spacewalk Koch during the Spacewalk. Picture: At 07:38am (North American time), Koch exited the ISS in an extravehicular activity suit (space suit), followed a short time later by Meir. The two women went to work replacing a faulty battery charge/discharge unit. The device is one of a few pieces of equipment that is responsible for regulating the station’s power. It had failed the previous week but was not critical to life support. However, the task needed to be completed bec