Spare the Rock Records’ initiative to get girls excited about science, one song at a time
It’s been seven years (I triple-checked that math) since the former president of Harvard ignited a media storm with comments expressing doubts about women’s innate ability to excel at science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Lawrence H. Summers intended his remarks to be provocative, supposedly to encourage people to address the question of why there are so few high-ranking women in the STEM fields relative to men. Summers certainly got a reaction, but not the kind he was looking for, and the disparity between the sexes persists. Prevailing studies suggest that while male and female brains are indeed different, they are not necessarily different in ways that support Summer’s claim, and that social factors play a large role. In other words, if you tell a girl math is hard, or give her a Barbie doll that pronounces as much, she might listen.
Thanks to Spare the Rock Records, which released “Science Fair” earlier this month, your daughter can listen to something more encouraging. The album features new music from artists including Mates of State, Moona Luna, Elizabeth Mitchell, Frances England, and Babe the Blue Ox. Molly Ledford, the lead singer of the children’s indie-rock band Lunch Money, whose song “To Be a Fossil” appears on the album, had wanted to do an female comp for some time. “I spoke to [Spare the Rock Records founder] Bill Childs, and he kind of pounced on the idea,” she says.
The album’s other 17 songs are also about girls and science, and net proceeds go to a Girls Inc. program supporting the same. “I think it’s kind of a girl power double-whammy,” says Ledford, “since I’d love to encourage more girls to get into the music industry too.” Those who quit band and aren’t destined for a career in quantum mechanics (guilty) will at least appreciate the catchy tunes and quirky cover art by El Lohse, part of which depicts Albert Einstein holding a stereo over his head à la Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything. —Kate Guadagnino
Artwork by El Lohse