An Open Letter to Eric Zinczenko: Science Isn’t a Men’s Interest

08.15.12


Dear Eric Zinczenko,

This morning I saw a press release from Bonnier Corporation in which you were elevated to Executive Vice President of the Bonnier Men’s Group. Mazel Tov Mr. Zinczenko (that’s cograts from a Jewish Mother in case you aren’t familiar)! I am thrilled for you personally and professionally I’ll have my eye on you.

My hope is that your first move as a critically important media executive will be to rename the Bonnier Men’s Group. You see one of your magazines is Popular Science. I know that there are women who enjoy Outdoor Life and Field and Stream… but I really have to focus on one battle at a time.

Today I’d like to talk about Science Bias for little girls. When I was on my amazing trip to Alaska with a bunch of scientists they uniformly expressed to me the import of getting my daughter into a single sex school as soon as possible because teachers subconsciously have a science bias. They (the scientists) didn’t think that science teachers actually believed that girls were less capable of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) than their male counterparts but in practice the teachers (male and female alike) showed prejudice to the boys in the classroom.

Calling Popular Science a men’s property is appalling in 2012. It was appaling in 1960 also but women had other fish to fry at that moment in time (sadly it involved frying actual fish). Today’s popsci.com’s homepage is full of content that’s fascinating for men and women. It’s a wonderful property that many of us love, you’re lucky to be leading the parade.

Mr. Zinczenko you have the opportunity to make a legendary decision today. If you rename the Bonnier Men’s Group to… well, to almost anything else…. you can make a public stand in showing men, women and girls that you believe in us all. I know you have a daughter, you don’t want her thinking that science is for boys, do you?

Respectfully,

Jessica Gottlieb (who has Bachelors Degree in the Sciences because a chemistry lab felt like home)

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11 responses to “An Open Letter to Eric Zinczenko: Science Isn’t a Men’s Interest”

  1. Amber Taylor says:

    Popular Science is a men’s magazine?  I had no idea.  I have been reading it since I was a kid… Go figure.  

  2. Robert Yang says:

    So what are you going to do on the single sex school front?  We’re just learning about the teaching bias.

    • My daughter is very interested in two of the all girl high schools. Ultimately it will be her decision. We’ll know a lot in the springtime.

      • Sarah Auerswald says:

        I am looking at single-sex options for boys as well. Turns out boys are freer to explore all aspects of their personalities when there aren’t any girls around, I was surprised to learn. Weird how kids may do better when separated for education. 

  3. I learned about the teaching bias over 10 years ago. Sad to hear it’s still in play. I thought we’d have moved on by now.

  4. Too many things that science needs to figure out for us to miss out an talent because of sex bias.

  5. A-F*cking-men. We are in 2012, not 1952. 

  6. David says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. Rename it now!

  7. Lisa says:

    Yes, yes, yes! A thousand times, yes! I cringe when I hear a girl say that science is for boys, or math isn’t fun. I cringe when I hear boys say it, too, but I don’t want my daughter to be ridiculed for her love of math, and figuring out how things work.

  8. © MrBill says:

    ehhh, the publisher can label their magazine divisions as they see fit.

    The so called and ballyhooed science/math-gender-bias appears to be genetic – passed on from parents to their children … and if not “nature” then it’s the “nuture”!

    I attended a typical run-of-the-mill 4-year co-ed public high school, and both the science and math classes were equally populated by girls and boys. This was true for not only the required classes for graduation in these emphases, but also the higher elective math and science classes as well as the Advance Placement classes from which we could earn college credit while still in high school. In this arena I took AP classes in biology, chemistry, calculus, physics and the gender split was 50/50 across all of them.

    I also took AP classes in the more “liberal arts” area including composition, western civilization, psychology, sociology (basically I did my freshman year of college through my high school AP classes, as did many of my classmates who planned from early on to attend college) and again there was a pretty even balance of girls and boys in all these classes. In purely elective study areas such as art and music the balance was still there. However, the two areas of study where there was a noticeable difference in gender balance was the industrial arts – not many girls took drafting, welding, or wood shop (I took all three), and home economics which had few boys signing up to learn how to cook and sew (no, I did not take any of the home ec type classes … I learned to sew at home from my mother and earned a merit badge for the skill in scouts, and by the time I hit high school I was apprenticing with a chef and already could cook!)

    Overall, when I was in public school, just as many girls took the same classes as boys and both genders had those that excelled in science and math, and in writing and social sciences, and sometimes in both areas. Parents and teachers expected all the children to assert themselves and learn as much as they could. Teachers were expected to teach. Parents were expected to parent their off-spring and be responsible for their upbringing. There wasn’t a lot of name-calling or blame-shifting going on when it came to educating the children. And the children – we were allowed to be kids!

    I don’t know, maybe I went to a weird school … we did have to go to P.E. every day from 1st through 8th grade and then we had to amass a total of 4 semesters of physical education during our high school years – that was both girls and boys! Oh, and maybe that a few weeks each year the P.E. classes were truly co-ed and we had to learn to dance. (-;

    Probably the weirdest thing of all – my high school days were 30 years ago! … guess we were just way ahead of the curve!!!

  9. Sharon says:

    Not sure how I feel about demanding they rename it, but I’m all for women in the science/math fields  :)

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