If you have a daughter, it’s hard not to be discouraged about her future, given the constant media messages about girls’ lack of confidence and disinterest in engineering and computer science. Is she getting a fair shake in math class? Will she really be encouraged on the field or in the pool?
The answers to these questions are in the hands of the coaches and teachers on the frontlines, and lately I’ve been feeling much more encouraged about the opportunities for girls in my Northern California community. I always knew that parents, both moms and dads, are doing their best to inspire their girls to become confident, capable women. What I don't think I fully appreciated was the depth of knowledge, and support, that existed among the guys in my community on behalf of all girls -- even when they have no daughters of their own.
I recently had an opportunity to chat with three of them, including Greg Chambers, lawyer, father of three boy, and girls water polo coach at Drake High School; Conrad Gregory, realtor, father of two girls and girls soccer coach at Drake High School; and Nate MacDonald, father and middle school math and STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Math) teacher at White Hill Middle School.
From what they told me about their day-to-day work, it’s clear these guys really have our girls’ backs.
Barbie's bad day. If there were a One Thing New award for the dumbest idea of the year, it might just go to Mattel for releasing a Barbie book called "I Can Be A Computer Engineer." This cringe-worthy read had Barbie, clad in pink, talking about how she designs "ideas" for computer games but needs her male friends Steven and Brian, to do the programming work. Why? Because Barbie doesn't know how to code -- but she is capable of infecting her computer with a virus. Thank goodness Steven and Brian are there to save clueless Barbie! Kudos to blogger Pamela Ribon for bringing attention to the book this week. The uproar caused by her post -- "Barbie F*cks it up Again"-- led Mattel to pull the book off Amazon. The Internet also came to Barbie's rescue, offering up "Feminist Hacker Barbie," a site inviting readers to rewrite pages of Mattel's awful book.
Cleaning up your social life. It may be true that younger generations are more willing to share details about their life social media. But turns out, they also see the pitfalls of sharing too much -- or sharing inappropriate information. At least that seems to be the takeaway from a look at college applicants by Kaplan Test Prep. The group found that more students, fearing their online posts might hurt their chances of college admission, are "sanitizing their online profiles -- making them private, deleting certain posts, removing name tags in photos, using pseudonyms," according to The New York Times. While several colleges told the paper that they don't look at students' online persona, kids are still worried that what they post may be used against them, particularly at competitive private colleges. Better safe than sorry.
100 dad's gather to network about staying home. Early this fall, the National At-Home Dad Network held its annual retreat, attended by 100 stay-at-home dads, the largest gathering ever of its kind. The New York Times coverage of the story says they came together to attend workshops, trade recipes, and just hang out with other men who had also made the choice to stay home with their kids. There was even a writer, Hogan Hilling, on hand, signing copies of his book "Dads Behaving Dadly." We took a quick peek at the book, subtitled "67 Truths, Tears and Triumphs of Modern Fatherhood." Yeah it's a little mawkish and the idea that there are men "asserting themselves, actively taking part in changing diapers, attending doctor's appointments, participating in PTA meetings and helping with homework" is a welcome one. It's a particularly notable to someone whose husband didn't change his daughter's diaper for six months after she was born. Still, these men must exist somewhere because, according to the Pew Research Center, they make up 16 percent of today's primary family caregivers.