I have my daughter signed up for this really cool camp at the Kennedy Space Center. The kids get to ride in motion-based simulators, work on designing space vehicles, talk to an astronaut, perform a space shuttle mission simulation, and all kinds of other fascinating stuff. Blaine, of course, is thrilled with it.
But when I dropped her off today, I was surprised to see the boy/girl ratio in the camp. Her age group–those going into second grade–had thirty boys…and seven girls. The counselor said it’s always like that.
And honestly, all day long I’ve been wondering why on Earth that would be. I don’t think it’s just what the kids themselves express an interest in, because at this age I think you tend to guide their interests–certainly in a summer camp. And maybe I’m spoiled by my daughter, but I just can’t envision telling any seven- or eight-year-old about this camp and them going, “Meh. That doesn’t sound much fun.”
So what is it? Lots of people just decide for their kids that it’s a boys’ activity? They just don’t encourage their girls to try it, or even tell them about it? Or they’ve just trained them not to be interested in such things from the beginning, so that the girls really don’t want to do it?
I just do not on any level get that, and yet I don’t see other explanations for the ratio at this age. Now given, I’ve been moved to absolute fury by the utter inequality accepted as a given by many of the women in this area, but this just completely boggles my mind. I like to think that my girl is growing up in a place where that’s behind us, and yet if a majority of other parents are still guiding their girls in such a direction, it clearly isn’t.
What is going on here?
I'm a freelance copyeditor specializing in fantasy and science fiction. SF/F novels I have copyedited have been finalists for (and have sometimes won) the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke, Endeavour, Golden Spur, John W. Campbell Memorial, Quill, Locus, Philip K. Dick, British Science Fiction, British Fantasy, and World Fantasy awards. In 2007 I became the first and only copyeditor ever short-listed for a World Fantasy Award.