June 21 2005:
I spoke with a female student doing her Master's in Computer Science the other day.
She said her supervisor liked to have at least two "girls" in his research group.
I would have preferred the term "women" but that may have been changed in the
translation from person to person, so I won't blame that on anyone. I did find
it interesting that a specific number of women was given; not "some", or "one",
or a "few" but "at least two". I had to wonder why.
There were a couple of possibilities I came up with:
1. given the current atmosphere of promoting women to follow areas like Computer
Science, has this particular person found that having more than one "minority",
in this case women, working together, provides a more congenial and friendly
atmosphere to the minority members? Or,
2. has he discovered that the research group as a whole is more cohesive and
productive with a mix of genders?
You see where I'm going with this? Is this an attempt to make the group more
friendly towards women (thus making the female students more productive and
successful, at least in theory), or is it an attempt to make the group more
friendly towards everyone? Or am I totally out to lunch and there is another
reason entirely? I don't really care either way, I just found it something
interesting to think about.