Adrienne (simadrienne ) wrote,

I could talk about differential equations, but who'd read that?

There's been a bit of a stir on the AASWOMEN mailing list recently, because someone brought up the cover of the latest Edmund Optics catalog. A few people even wrote to the company to complain, and one of them passed along the letter he received in response:

"Hi [name],

Thank you for your feedback regarding the EO catalog and our recent cover. No need to be embarrassed for the many female science students coming along. Rather, encourage them to celebrate that another smart, young, and attractive female has joined the ranks of women in a technical field, which breaks the pattern of discrimination you describe. You see, the woman featured on the cover is a six-year employee of Edmund and our Trade Show Manager and Spokesperson. Over the years we've received numerous positive comments and she has proven herself to possess the needed technical and social ability to successfully coordinate our tradeshows that showcase our products.

The recent cover photo emphasized a new product launch by Edmund. Our Trade Show Manager coordinated the showcase of these products at Photonics West last month. Had you happened by our booth for a visit, you would have had the opportunity to meet and speak with her about our Kinematic mounts as well as receive additional technical information from two other smart, young, and attractive, female optical engineers present at the time. ..."

Hey, she's an employee, that changes everything. No, really! I think it's great that when I finish my PhD (God willing and the creek don't rise), I can look forward to a career as a booth babe.

A little parity goes a long way, though. I have a vision of the next catalog cover--it features a handsome young man, maybe in chinos or a nice pair of jeans, barefoot, shirt halfway unbuttoned, an alluring gleam in his eye. Maybe a caption like "Well Oiled Mounts." I'm sure that wouldn't make anyone uncomfortable, right?
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