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Author Topic: Why not more women in ham radio?  (Read 303027 times)
KE6WNH
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Posts: 128




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« on: August 01, 2009, 04:50:55 PM »

One of the discouraging things in the ham world is that more women just don't seem interested in getting into the hobby. My buddy convinced his 70-yo mother to get her ticket after the Chino quake disrupted cell phone service, but to this day, I haven't been able to convince my 65-yo aunt to do likewise, despite the fact that she lives in a retirement community in AZ where there's no shortage of hams to talk to. Likewise my nextdoor neighbor---a county building inspector---who is very enthusiastic about studying for his Tech, but he hasn't garnered much interest from his wife and daughter when he suggested it would be a good way for them to keep in touch while the daughter is at college out of town.

Is it just the stereotyped image of the ham of yesteryear, with a shack full of rigs and wires everywhere, which has been turning off women to joining the hobby? If so, we need to work on changing it. Ham radio is a handy hobby to have when other methods of communication let us down.

73, Marty
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KJ4MXO
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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2009, 06:25:57 PM »

I just got my tech ticket.My wife being somewhat smarter than me saw how I only studed for about a month and passed.I suggested to her it would would be a good idea to get hers.We live in Fl and when the storms hit it can shut down cellphones.She said she wasn't interested in taking a test to use a hopped up "CB".Not pushing to hard but still trying.
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K2FR
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2009, 06:48:29 AM »

generally they are just not interested in it.



Just like I have no real interest in shopping through 100's of different items to make the perfect outfit like her..  So all things even out..  she doesn't drag me shopping I don't ask he to watch me play with radios lol
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N2EY
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Posts: 3913




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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2009, 05:24:43 AM »

It's a cultural thing. Ham radio is technology-based, and IN GENERAL women are less interested in technology-based activities than men.

Look around at other technology-based activities - cars, computers, woodworking, aviation, etc. - and you'll see the same pattern.

Yet there have always been a significant number of female hams. Many have excelled in their acomplishments.

73 de Jim, N2EY
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12995




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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2009, 06:08:32 AM »

Some years ago our local club had a president who had a wife with some interest. A group of hams had an informal breakfast gathering every Sat morning and she was instrumental in getting many of the other wives to come along. Few had any real interest in ham radio but they were up for a free breakfast and social time. What it takes is a "leader" to get and keep interest.
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KC9QEB
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Posts: 17




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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2009, 11:18:16 AM »

Most of the techie people I know are the women. However, I know that as a woman in her mid-30s, I'm a fairly rare bird in the world of ham radio.
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K9FON
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Posts: 1012




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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2009, 08:57:42 PM »

My wife is a ham. She is not that active though. The kicker is she got her ham ticket before i did!
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N0SOY
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Posts: 72




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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2009, 02:02:05 PM »

Part of it is the attitude of some of the hams out there.   Many years ago  a friend of mine got her general license and we decided to go to a hamfest.  She is older then I.  She had cash and was looking for some equipment to play with. BTW she can afford to buy what ever she wished.  Every vendor looked at her and either ignored her or kept talking to me and referring to me as her husband.  Things like "talk to your husband about XXXXX" looking at me.  That made me feel old.   The final straw was when she was standing there trying to get some old fart type vender's attention about a radio she wanted and and he went and waited on two other guys who just walked up.  He finally came over when I walked up.  She was so mad you would not believe it.  She acted like she wanted the radio and how it was so nice ect.  Had him go over all the controls ect.  Then took out  more then enough cash to buy it.  After she made sure that he saw the cash.  She told him that she would rather give it to a homeless bum then by anything for such a sexist pompous ass.

It took me 2 hours to calm her down and she has since let her license lapse.  

This is the 21st century not the 19th.
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KASSY
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Posts: 167




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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2009, 12:55:53 AM »

The calibre of men in the hobby has something to do with it.

Men are constantly about women for staying fit and trim and "looking good".  Take one look at a ham club meeting and most women will realize this is NOT the direction that men have been asking THEM to go.

AARP Journal mentioned this - after age 50, most women get more physically active.

To date, in my experience in ham radio, more women are found in the physically active parts of the hobby.  Our local search and rescue group is 50/50.  The local QRP/hiking club is 1/3 women.  Of the several "emergency preparedness" organizations, the one that actually conducts drills that require mobilization and hikes into canyons, onto mountaintops etc, for simulated emergencies is about 1/3 women.

If you want to attract a specific demographic, you have to find out what attracts them, and do it.  You can't just hope they'll "discover" your world.

- k
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KD8ERE
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Posts: 42




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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2009, 10:38:48 AM »

My wife got her license about a year after I got mine. We got it because she worked in one city, and I in another. We couldn't afford cell phones, so we wanted a way to stay in contact with each other in lunch breaks. She had the HT, and I had the mobile. Once we moved to where we live now, she just lost interest. She says there are too many technical aspects to learn, and she doesn't have the patience to learn them, plus it's like no one else wants to talk to her. I think a lot of women feel that male hams don't want to talk to them. Why they feel this way I don't know. I have no problem talking to anyone on the radio. So how can we get more women interested in ham radio?

73,
Ryan KD8ERE
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KE6WNH
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Posts: 128




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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2009, 05:32:26 PM »

Well, my friend's mother is over 70 and lives alone, so it's not hard to see why she's deadset on getting her ticket (reason: she has just about had it with cellular conk-outs)... however my 65-yo aunt, who happens to live in a retirement community where a radio club meets weekly and a larger-than-average percentage of retirees are active hams, seems terrified of written tests (never mind there are all sorts of interesting things which open up to you once you get your ticket). I sent her the link to the YLRL as well as diagrams, tables, etc. which I purposely wrote for her in a way that a third grader could understand them.

What a shame the YLRL says they have fewer than 1,000 members... plus they don't seem to have any sort of outreach program.
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K9FON
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2009, 08:08:21 PM »

My XYL is a ham and she doesnt get on the air because of the general atitudes that most hams have towards newer hams and female hams. She thinks ham radio is a joke.
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K1KIK
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Posts: 12




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« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2009, 02:15:47 AM »

My wife isn't comfortable letting someone finish a sentence before she gets to speak again.
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W5GNB
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Posts: 419




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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2009, 10:26:29 AM »

"Why not more women in ham radio?"

Because Women are much SMARTER than us Male types....
Don't believe it?Huh  Just ask my XYL!

73's
Gary - W5GNB
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WD4MTW
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Posts: 62




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« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2009, 03:05:59 PM »

It might be more of gender difference relating to interpersonal communications then aversion to anything technical. Witness how women have taken to computers and the net. Amateur radio hardware has been reduced to a user appliance much like a PC. If my 23 y/o niece can wire a centralized phone,Ethernet,and MATV system, a dipole or vertical antenna is not a stretch. It would probably be different if there were more women in ham radio. Most women are uncomfortable starting a conversation with a male and generally frustrated with men's conversational style. To my wife, ham radio is about endless litanies of boys toys and nobody listening to what the other has to say. Certainly not correct, but it's the impression that's given that it's a boy's club. OTOH, could you imagine if there were more women involved and catch a conversation on the local repeater between a group of women talking about friends,family,work,crafts,fashion,and their feelings? Would you be comfortable getting into that conversation? How foreign would a conversation about Swarowski bicones,cloisonné beads,selecting a mauve duvet,tussie mussie arrangements,anything Prada,Blahnik,or Gucci be to you?
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