Women in the News: Affordable Care and Science vs. Computer Science|
The Supreme Court has spoken, the Affordable Care Act will be upheld and the individual mandate is constitutional as a tax.; the health of many people will no longer depend on the insurance companies’ exclusions and discriminations. This is great and life-changing news for many uninsured Americans. The biggest winners from that decision though are women – let’s look at some of the most important reasons to celebrate:
- “Gender-rating” will become illegal in all new individual and small group plans and women will no longer have to pay more for the same coverage. In some cases, women had to pay much higher premiums, simply for being women.
- Coverage can no longer be denied based on gender-related issues (It has been common that c-sections or being the victim of sexual assault or domestic violence were seen as pre-existing conditions).
- Maternity care will be covered in all new individual and small group plans.
Before the Affordable Care Act, about 90% of insurance policies usually excluded maternity care altogether.
- Preventative services such as mammograms, pap smears, contraception, gestational diabetes screenings and breastfeeding support will be covered with co-pays.
Having a certain safety net and knowing that getting medical treatment will not necessarily lead to financial problems will be a big relief. Many uninsured Americans and especially women will no longer have to postpone treatment and (literally) worry themselves sick. So let’s raise our glasses and celebrate! We can probably get away with indulging in something unhealthy for this special occasion, can’t we?
Is science really a “Girl Thing”?
Now it’s time for a (drastic) change of scenery. When you imagine a video with women wearing short skirts and posing like models, close-ups of make-up, high heels, hot male scientists, a lot of pink, and a slightly annoying electronic beat you probably think of a (80s inspired) music video or a commercial for make-up. The European Commission however, wants you to think of science. They recently released a cinematic masterpiece called “Science: It’s a Girl Thing” – the “I” in science is a lipstick to really bring the message home – a cheery and cheesy video that is supposed to encourage girls and women to get into science.
The campaign is aimed at girls between 13 and 17; and according to the team behind it, the idea was to stir away from clichs and show girls and young women that science it not just old men with lab coats but a fun and exciting field that can change the world. Well, it seems that you can at least change the make-up world when you are a girl scientist. The video did successfully avoid showing old men in lab coats but unfortunately the European Commission replaced that one stereotype with 20 (possibly worse) others.
The video caused an uproar among both male and female scientists (and people with common sense) and the commission quickly removed it from the campaign’s website. Europe, we know you have a lot on your plate with the debt crisis and maybe you wanted to give us a bad example first but I think you should start over by replacing everything from the first video. Well, everything but the sexy scientist, he might be ok to appear in the background.
Doing it right
A much better example of how to get girls in that age group interested in tech and science is the initiative “Girls who Code” that won some big supporters this week: Companies like Twitter, Google, General Electrics and eBay back up the program that will give 20 at-risk high school girls a crash course in how to build websites and mobile apps, start their own business and learn about computer science, robotics and the financial aspects of the business. The first class will be taught in New York City this summer but Girls Who Code will hopefully reach other cities soon.
The program wants to give girls a chance to explore the tech field and get them excited for something they might have never gotten exposed to by mentoring, supporting and teaching them. The initiative’s ultimate goal is to increase the number of women who become computer programmers and engineers: Currently only 14% of all computer science degrees are earned by women – a depressing number in a field that is consistently growing and expanding. Let’s hope Girls who Code will successfully change that and we soon need cheesy videos full of stereotypes for boys.