Women in Nanoscience


Women in Nano Blog

I look like an Engineer

Posted on August 17, 2015 at 11:45 AM

The #ILookLikeAnEngineer hashtag began as a result of the reaction to Ms. Isis Wenger, a software platform engineer with OneLogin.com, appearing in one of the company's recruiting posters along with two other posters that featured male software engineers. Unlike the other two posters, her poster received some unanticipated reactions from viewers who described her poster as a way for the company to recruit more male engineers by posting a photo of an attractive woman. Incredibly, some viewers felt that an attractive woman couldn't possibly be performing the role of a software platform engineer. Such reactions demonstrate the persistence of the age-old stereotype of women engineers, and that the appearance of women engineers who don't fit in such a stereotype casts doubt on their capability as an engineer.


Responding to the situation, Wenger started the #ILookLikeAnEngineer hashtag which has been widely shared on social networks. It has inspired more than 23,000 women to post their pictures with a message of "#ILookLikeAnEngineer." Joining these women are some of WiN's own female graduate students in the school of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Cornell University, as shown in the pictures below. Some of these women are accomplished dancers, active paintball shooters, and have posed as a model for their fashion designer friends. In the lab, they work on RNA engineering, vacuum surface chemistry, virus fusion and binding kinetics. WiN adds its voice to say that there should not be only one view of female scientists or engineers. It's time for the stereotype judging their capabilities as scientists or engineers to be retired.


From left to right: Ghazal Shoorideh, Alexandra Westbrook, Jessica Akemi Cimada da Silva, Sarai Meyer, Lakshmi Nathan, Chelsea Hu, Jade Noble, Lily Johnson

Inspired by the i-look-like-an-engineer social movement was taking off, an #Ilooklikeaprofessor hashtag was started by Adeline Koh (digital humanities, Stockton U.) and Sara B. Pritchard (Sci. & Tech. studies, Cornell), to redress the stereotypes of women and faculty of color in the academy. So many stories have been written in response to this August 2015 hashtag that sadly recount painful moments of women and those of color being told we don’t belong in the academy and the microagressions that that we endure. Their blog is a "must read".


To add our support to this movement, we enclose a picture of many women faculty in Engineering at Cornell. Wonderfully, this picture does not capture all of us; the cohort of women professors in Engineering at Cornell is bigger than this.

If you have pictures of your women faculty in engineering, or the physical sciences, or nanoscience, please send them to us (womeninnanoscience @ gmail.com) and we will be happy to post them. This stereotype has to be reborn in the colors and genders that represent faculty more honestly.

- Written by Eugene Choi and Paulette Clancy

(Photo credit: Cornell grad students: Taken by WIN's Eugene Choi and used with her permission, CU professors: Credit to Thomas Hoebbel).

Categories: WINnews

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