Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Keep up the good fight

A fellow computer science student getting ready to write up his PhD dissertation wrote to me recently, asking for advice on using style files in LyX, since I had mentioned working on that in my blog. As part of his email, he wrote the below message, which he agreed to let me share here. I think you'll like it.
On a more personal note, I really like your blog. I hope it encourages more women to enter the field. I was sent back to grad school by my manager at work, one of the most intelligent and accomplished women I know. My day job is as a scientist for the goverment. My manager has her Ph.D. and is now one of the government's leading experts in a field entirely separate from her dissertation. Despite her success, I've seen her face obstacles and prejudices that she just shouldn't have to. I have a bit of unique perspective on these things. In addition to my schooling in computer science, I have an arts degree and my wife is a professor in the Faculty of Arts at Ottawa U. I asked her how she would characterize the difference between her job and my manager's and her response, without even having to think about it, was that her gender was just not an issue in her job. It would have been 30 years ago, but not today. Wouldn't it be great if we could say that about our profession one day. I hope with people like my manager and you, it will take less than 30 years to get there. Keep up the good fight.