Dec 3, 2013

Steve Jobs was a woman because he bit the apple!

By Marta Aymerich,  Vice President for Strategic Planning and Research at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).

Apparently, from our very “creation”, we have a special affinity for this fruit. Or at least, this is what we have been told. As we have also been told, though more subtly, that studying a technical degree course is not for women. Both things are far from the truth. They are just ways of making us see gender as preconditioning us for certain tasks and attitudes, and not for others. In reality what happens is that we end up being preconditioned –but not because of genetics, but because of culture. From birth, we are taught that there is a colour for girls and a colour for boys, and later, that there are toys for girls and toys for boys. And, subsequently, we end up believing that there are studies for girls and studies for boys. And from here it is a short jump to think that there are more suitable men for positions of responsibility in academia than suitable women. More women than men graduate from university in Catalonia today, but this has not led to a substantial change in the proportion of women in academic positions. This is partly  because we have grown up thinking that we do not have the right predisposition. Well, I do not believe this. And I myself am proof. I do not have to believe that technical degrees are not for women either; nor are we particularly drawn to biting apples. Or are we? If you think about it, maybe that is what we have to do. Jobs chose an apple with a bite out of it for the company’s logo and he broke the mould. 
«Maybe, and I speculate, he chose it as a ground-breaking symbol, with the image in mind of the first person, a woman, who is able to overcome the status quo.»  
Indeed, you often have to break the rules to make progress. Especially if what’s at stake is ensuring we do not lose so much talent.

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