Thursday, January 21, 2010

Book Reviews

Yay, I love sharing my 2 cents with random helpless victims who ultimately don’t care!

I currently have two reads to report on:

Knitting Related:

Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair

Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair: This is Laurie Perry’s (AKA: Crazy Aunt Purl) first endeavor into the literary world and makes for a quick read. I have always felt oddly drawn to her blog, and now I know why. Laurie accounts her life during her divorce and when it seems her whole life was turned upside down. She talks a bit about her new obsession with knitting and there was a particular incident she recalls that happened right after she came home after her first knitting class was all too familiar to me. I remember having a similar experience learning to knit when I had a depression and was a bit batty myself, so this was a page turner for me. Highly recommend reading it if you are looking for a very insightful and reflective read (and it comes with some simple beginners knitting patters in the back, which is an extra lovely bonus when you are not expecting it :-) )

I have already bought Laurie’s second book Home is Where the Wine Is and am really looking forward to starting that.

Not Knitting Related:

Since knitting has become fashionable again, especially among women in IT, I thought this book was would be interesting to report in on.

Lykkelig i Nørdland Lykkelig I Nørdland (in Danish): Dorte Toft has been a prolific blogger for years covering various topics in the IT industry for years.  She is accredited for uncovering the Stein Bagger’s scandal and IT Factory and recently written  this book to highlight the need to encourage girls to take the “hard classes” such as math and science in school.  Denmark has often prided itself on “ligestilling” – the equality between men and women in society and the workplace, but Dorthe uses this book to discuss how girls and themselves pulling out of male oriented roles and only seeking education and employment in traditionally female jobs, making gender equality a myth.  She presents a very strong argument that girls not encouraged to study these disciplines by the 9th grade will not do so later on in life, therefore forfeiting millions in lost pay and placing themselves lower in the hierarchy for promotion to managerial roles.  I am still in the process of reading this book, but as the mother of a girl in this i impressionable age, I can recommend it based on what I have read so far.

(Note: for anyone who is not Danish or involved in IT, IT Factory was a company that seemed to be one of the healthiest and most profitable in the country for many years until it was uncovered by Dorte that the company was riddled with fraud that stretched to various accounting and investment companies. A lot of people lost money due to this company and their CEO Stein Bagger has quickly become known as a kind of “Bernard Madoff of Denmark”. You can read more here.)

I recently heard Dorthe Toft speak at IT Mega Corp at one of our woman’s network session, which led me to read the book.  Occasionally, the company plans an event to talk about woman’s issues, points of interest or networking during company hours.  When this initiative first started, I remember thinking that this was an overreaction to critique the company must have gotten at some point.  When I was hired here, half of the managers were woman as was half of my department. 

One day recently, I was called into a meeting to review technology concepts and the results of several discussions that had been had with HQ in the US.  The meeting room was fitted with one long table, which was surrounded by black padded chairs which were all occupied by managers, team leads and directors.  The meeting started and I began to look around the room a bit.  I quickly realized that we were only two women in the room….2 out of 34!  After counting the number of bodies in the room, I realized that not only were we only 2 women, we were the only people there that were not managers.  So in a room of 34 participants, there were 32 Caucasian male managers and 2 female employees.  Since that day, I have suddenly been able to see the importance of having these discussions and women’s events.

The discussion in itself was interesting for the simple fact that yet again the point was brought up that it was women and girls limiting their own factors.  Of course there were a lot of factors that went into this – educational system, parents (in particularly fathers), etc. – but ultimately, in rich industrialized countries, we are getting worse at picking science and math in school.  Boys are moving away from these areas too, but the trend is much more dramatic with girls.  It’s getting so bad now that schools that teach teachers in Denmark called seminariums have actually had to drop natural sciences and math as a major because no one would take it.  I guess it’s up to us to make sure our own daughter gets the education she deserves. Tags: ,,,

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