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RE: The Top Six Reasons Computers are Fe

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I thought the joke was funny and didn't understand what the big deal was
until I read maura's post.  Very well said.  You put the issue into a
different context; one that was over my head.


John Jones, PE

-----Original Message-----
From: -=maura=- [mailto:gatensby(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Thursday, May 20, 1999 2:17 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: The Top Six Reasons Computers are Fe

It is easy for me to laugh at jokes about architects, because I have never
been discriminated against because I am an architect. Ditto for being
canadian, or for various other characteristics that I posses. Jokes about
engineers in general are funny, because being an engineer in this society
puts you near the top. The reason jokes about women on an engineering
listserve are not funny is because women in engineering have been, and
continue to be discriminated against, harassed, denied opportunity and
advancement, and even here in Canada, murdered, simply because they are
women. Yes, things are getting better, but the world is not perfect yet.

I would suggest that a woman engineer who has felt the sting of prejudice
or harrassment in her career is acutely reminded of it when jokes about
women appear in an engineering forum. Its the context that is important.
When I first read that particular joke, it was in a 'chat' type listserve,
and it had the male countpart, and I did not find it offensive. For the
seaint list, the male part of the joke was removed, and *only* women were
targeted. In the context of the history of women in engineering, that is
offensive. I'll 'lighten up' when woman can become engineers and practice
engineering on the same basis as men, when one's gender is no longer an
issue in the profession.


Maura Gatensby Architect
Vancouver, Canada