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.