How come no women or minorities on the show anymore? : LUSENET : Junkyard Wars : One Thread

Many viewers may not be aware that the under-representation of women and minorities in engineering is a major workforce development and equity issue, both in the U.S. and worldwide. In the UK version of the series, there seemed to be a production effort to include women (at least), with at least 1 team an episode usually including a woman, or, if not, at least a female judge.

Reviewing all the teams AND judges for the US version, there is only 1 woman, and, as far as I could tell, no minorities throughout the entire season. If this is meant to be an educational show, it really is important to promote diversity in the program, but there is nothing in the application materials to indicate that women and minorities are especially encouraged to apply.

I'm very glad that TLC/Discovery have taken on this show, and the show is excellent from a pedagogical standpoint, but it's disappointing that there isn't more leadership in promoting sorely needed gender and racial diversity. To learn more about the under representation of women and minorities in engineering, you can read an excellent report "Land of Plenty: Diversity as America's Competitive Edge in Science, Engineering and Technology" by the Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development (the report was commissioned by the U.S. Congress) available at

-- Christine Andrews (, January 09, 2001


As a counter point:

Teams and judges should be selected based on their qualifications, not on their sex or race. People should be recognized for their abilities and skills, not for the color of their skin or the features of their body.

Eh, this argument has been done before - affirmative action, quotas, etc.


-- Chris Rake (, January 09, 2001.

I agree. Unfortunately, when 34% of high school girls in the U.S. are actively DISCOURAGED by teachers and guidance counselors from taking the senior math classes they need to be qualified, it's not exactly a level playing field, is it?

Since women are over 50% of the U.S. population, and over 50% of college graduates, and "minorities" make up an increasing percent of the U.S. population (to the extent that the MAJORITY of the U.S. population is female and/or minority), it's a little naive to think the only reason there's only 1 female or minority on JYW this season is because there isn't anyone of their gender or race "qualified".

You'd think TLC would want to better represent their audience, at least.

-- Christine Andrews (, January 09, 2001.

If you watch tommorow night, you'll see a woman on our team from California, "Art Attack" at 10pm. June Moxon. She's a great team member and doesn't mind getting dirty. She calls herself our secret weapon!!! TLC told us that having more women on teams in the junkyard is what they would prefer. They just don't get that many signing up. I don't know about the minorities issue though???

-- Duane Flatmo (, January 09, 2001.

I'm not sure whree the 34% figure comes from. But if that is anywhere close to being remotely true, this it is very sad. Fortunately not all schools are like that.


-- Chris Rake (, January 09, 2001.

Put a team together. Send an application, like the rest of us, don't try to destroy something good. There are already more women's shows on TLC than anything else. You don't see a bunch of men trying to take those over do you. I happen to be home all day, boy would I like to do some rearranging of shows. The US Congress has reports on virtually everything and I'm sure they all represent one persons opinion, they just got paid to say it. The vast majority of women don't want to get all greasy and nasty, the show is not all about engineering, you have to get down to it.

It is just like the lottery, you can't win unless you enter!!!!!!!! JustJay

-- justjay-Captain-Three Rusty Juveniles (, January 09, 2001.

You saw what you wanted to see.You saw inequality I didn't.I believe your feelings of inadequacy give you tainted vision.Lift yourself up get your hands dirty and go girl!

-- Phillip Barrington (, January 10, 2001.

I work at a Nuke plant with a large technical staff. Women are seriously underrepresented -- except in the clerical section. It is a little disconcerting to be in a seminar of 50 first level supervisors and senior technical people -- and only have one woman there.

I've been involved in hiring a few people, and find the policies enlightening. The interview questions are the same for each candidate, and they are marked with Acceptable, OK, but need work, or unacceptable. If you get more than one candidate considered acceptable on all questions, and one is female, she gets the offer. That is the only case where affirmative action kicks in.

By the way, we have seen one Hispanic on the show, Jesus.

I'd love to see more women and minorities on the show, but technical ability has to be on par with the others. I must say that Cathy makes a great role model.

On a side note, I'd love to see some teams from third world countries. Mechanics there are notorious for quick bodging and keeping vehicles running that in more developed countries would go straight to the crusher without bothering to canabalize!

I grew up in Kenya. In 1992 our old 1972 Datsun was still running with a lot of help from mechanics. Rust isn't the problem there, it is repeated rebuilding of the suspension!

-- Michael (Canadian P. Eng) (, January 10, 2001.

I really hate these kinds of questions. This show is meant to be a fun and something you can learn from too. But if an underqualified female team took 10 hours to only make worthless scrap even more worthless, whats the point of the show. Cathy is not only the host, but she is also the creator and producer!. Now if a woman doesn't strive to get every show to have a female in it. Every show costs over half a million to create, and she is not stupid. She needs to put her trusts in the abilities of the two teams to create an operating product by the end of the day, or they don't have a show, and an enormous amount of money has been lost. I know that woman might not be able to get all the advancements they want, because of glass ceilings and walls etc..but what does that have to do with this show? Maybe they might not be able to get the same exact pay as males. What does that have to do with the show? The show is about learning engineering, learning how things work, and it's just plain enjoyable. I wouldn't watch it if one team didn't finish by the end of the day. I'm sure there are plenty of women qualify to compete with the guys. And there are an enormous amount of minorities in engineering. In my computer science classes there are tons of intelligent minorities. But what does the lack of them have to do with the show? I watch this show all the time. I watched it while a group of girls were in my dorm room. They were talking about how they would love to be on the show. I told them bout the teams...they seemed very interested. I thought that was cool. But when i got down to their room the first day back to school, i had to put their ab flex together, fix their computer, and they couldn't figure out how to put the top on their new brita filter. They are very underqualified, and if TLC or cathy was forced to put them on the show, they would end up with nothing by the end of the 10 hours. I'm not even qualified to do some of the calculations that these people do, and i would love to be on the show too. And even if the TLC program received applications from only white males, people would still complain about how there are no woman or minorities on the show. Do your research first about the picking of the teams Christine, and find out whether there was an inequal oppurtunity; Just don't go complaining about how unfair everything is before you know that. There are a lot of qualified women and minority engineers for the job, maybe they didn't sign up though.. you don't know that. I'm not saying be ignorant about it. If you really want to know that bad find out. Recently on the show Battle Bots there were 2 women that build a unarmed robot called the Buddy Lee. It looked just a remote control firetruck with a doll and stuffed dalmations in the back. They went up against a twin bladed spinning robot. Everyone thought that the women were going to get demolished. Turns out they built the robot extremly well, and with good tactics they won. That's excellent. But they had as much time as they needed to build something, on Junkyard Wars you do not. Just leave the sexism and racism out of Junkyard wars, because it will only ruin the show. If women and minorites want to sign up, go for it. But don't ruin oppurtunities for everyone else.

-- Doug Wenz (, January 10, 2001.

The bottom line is this: TLC cannot choose teams to appear on the show that did not apply. So the question becomes, is the diversity (or lack of) on the show representative of the diversity on the teams that applied? I don't know if that's a question any of us can answer.

-- marshall philips (, January 10, 2001.

I am only 12 years old. I would love to be on the show, but unfortunatly, that would be difficult. First of all, I would have to miss a lot of school, not to mentoin my Mom would be worried to death about me. I am pretty sure that is why most minors are not on the show. As for women, beats me!

-- Jared M. Porcenaluk (, January 10, 2001.

I havn't even thought of that, but you had to bring that up!

-- Ryley Felver (, January 10, 2001.

Great, just what we need, another change in the show to accomodate someone's political correctness. Every facet of our society is cowering to montra of "we must look like the face of America" and frankly, I'm sick of it. I agree that it seems women and minorities do seem underrepresented, but enough is enough. Find a team of women and apply to the show or start your own show. Leave the rest of us alone.

-- bob anderson (, January 10, 2001.

Has anyone crunched the numbers on the ratios of applicants gender and ethnic background and sexual orientation ect ect ad-infinitum, among the applicants for the slots on the shows? Do the ratios on the shows reflect the balance in the applications? When do the "mobility challenged" other people with handicaps get their shot at having a team on the show? The bottom line is to make good action television, try to show how things work, and how teams work to solve problems in an entertaining way, not to present another forum for anyones cultural or political agenda. Even the best engineers have a problem with figuring out the effect of gusting winds on pumpkins in flight, and the probability of a catapult getting a good shot off. With some of the challenges, the numbers mean a lot, but all the numbers only work with predictable and tested materials and mediums. I say; "Better Living Thru Bubbaneering" is a good definition of "Punkin Chunkin" and "Junkyard Waring." My friends and I, having little and no formal engineering background have taken the world's championship "Human Powered Punkin Chunkin" title and set new records for this year, and my friend John "Wolfman" Thomas has taken the unlimited class title away from all the hotshots with the college degrees and corporate sponsorships with old fashioned redneck preserverence and "bubba tek" bigger badder better bravado. Most engineers are good people, and would not have devoted their time money,and efforts into getting the education if they didn't want to help people with their knowlege, but there are still some things that do well with simple rip-crunch-scrunch-and-bubblegum-duct-tape technonogy. It's still the best show going. If you have the desire, the cash and a better idea and want to produce a competing show, we will all be thrilled watch it when you put it on the air, or at least perhaps record it where we can watch it after watching the latest "Junkyard" episode. Waddy, consultant bubbaneer for the "Three Rusty Juveniles"

-- Waddy Thompson (, January 11, 2001.

Blaming society for a lack of women and minorities in engineering is COMPLETE BALONEY!!!!!! If you want to be an engineer and you have the mental aptitude for it, nobody can stop you from taking the classes. I'm sure JW is not discriminating against anyone, because the creator and chief producer of the show is a woman, Cathy Rogers, the host you see every week! Claiming that counselors and teachers are discouraging girls from taking advanced math classes is a really sissy, weakling excuse. There have been scientific studies showing that girls on the average have less ability in spacial reasoning and math than boys. This is the real reason why there are much fewer girls in engineering. Of course there are girls who are good at math, but they are the exceptions. Another bit of evidence that women have less spacial reasoning ability is that they're not as good at using maps as men are. So really, the reason there are fewer female engineers is that fewer females have the ability to BE engineers.

-- Richard Manahan (, January 11, 2001.

Right on, Waddy! You have officially become "da man!"

-- Matt Bagshaw (, January 11, 2001.

One more thing: the idea that women and minorities should be given extra encouragement to apply for JW is ridiculous. Let them just decide for themselves whether they want to apply. Whoever applies applies, and there's no need to make a social engineering issue out of it.

-- Richard Manahan (, January 11, 2001.

I really enjoyed seeing the girl working with the "Art Attack" team. She added a lot of charisma to the team, as well as tirelessly staying on task. She deserved to be there, and you could see that she was really having a great time.

-- Waddy Thompson (, January 11, 2001.

Thank you Waddy! I did have a GREAT time and yes, I deserved to be there. I always wear makeup and rhinestones and I do all my own welding, ect. There will be a web page link soon where anyone can check out the work and fun that we live with. I'm horrible with math but my tourches seem to work just fine, the only body parts that I seem to need are my hands and eyes to work them. That's how I make a living as an artist. We want to do this again. The Metal Medics were so much fun. It was a collision of laughter from the first time we met them. We spent as much time as we could with them and their wives during our stay. We will be life long friends thanks to the people of Junkyard Wars... I can not say enough good things about them, they were all so good to us.

June Moxon Team Art Attack

-- June Moxon Art Attack (, January 11, 2001.

Ever notice how one completely innocent (and statistically very correct) question will bring out all the rednecks? Too bad some of them were also contestants. As far as I can tell, no one suggested "dumbing" down the teams with incompetent contestants, of any race, gender or minority, just that it would be nice to see more women and minorities (such as the delightful June) and i couldn't agree more. (the rednecks can now take their white sheets and hoods off, since we now know who they are).

-- coolstar (, January 28, 2001.

One last thing on this- before holding the show up as responsible for her standards of women/minority/pc participation, Christine Andrews should take look in her own back (or junk!) yard and ask herself what she is doing to act as a good example. Do you run an afterschool basic engines class for girls? Volunteer to teach bike repair or weather mechanics for your local girl scouts? Or -GASP!- take a girl you know under your wing and let her help as you repair your own car/computer/ farm machinery/space craft? Before you start flinging stones, Christine, you might consider ways in which you can be a role model. As a mechanically savvy woman myself I take my 5 year old neice to the shop with me to weld, join, invent and create, and am rewarded in knowing that I don't rely on someone else to give her those skills (or whine when they don't) but have shown her by example that she can be as tough, intelligent, and self-reliant as she chooses. If you aren't doing the same then you are part of the problem you're complaining about. And if you need help with a scrap-oriented, pirate-parted, pneumatically powered stone flinger, you let the ladies out here in the junkyard know. We're playing with the boys, not against them.

-- Jakey, The Rubble Rousers (, February 23, 2001.

A team from Cuba would be excellent, if they would apply to be on the show. Mechanics there have been keeping old American cars running for over 40 years and looking fine, at least cosmetically. Mechanically they'll often have bits bodged together from american, asian, soviet etc cars, trucks and farm equipment. :) The problem would be getting the permission to leave Cuba. A few years ago Castro finally allowed the internet into Cuba, but only via one 64Kbit/second satellite link then he instituted a program requiring anyone wanting to use the net to apply for a computer license. :( Some personal freedoms have improved in Cuba but there are still very rigid bounds in many areas that the citizens dare not even think of trying to bend or break.

-- Gregg Eshelman (, February 24, 2001.

In response to Jakey, I am project consultant with the Women in Technology Project, and have spent the last year promoting the encouragement of women and girls in math, science, engineering and technology. In addition to launching program initiatives throughout my state and nationwide, I have personally spoken to over 600 high school girls and boys, and conducted original research on the subject. I have spoken at regional, state and national conferences, and will be presenting that the joint NAMEPA (National Association of Minority Engineering Program Administrators) and WEPAN (Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network) Conference in Virginia in April.

Anyone interested in learning more about the under representation of women and minorities in engineering and technology, and what they can do to help, visit the Women in Technology Project website at, or the WEPAN website at

-- Christine L. Andrews, J.D. (, February 27, 2001.

Christine, This is great! And while I take more of a hands-on approach rather than launching program intiatives and promoting encouragement, it looks as though we are, at base, on the same side of this issue. Want to encourage other women on this program? Get on a team and show them it can be done.

Want to start a program just for women and minorities? You are free to create and program your own format.

Want to see a damn fine educational program geared toward kids and adults of all genders and ethnicities, and learn a thing or two along the way? Watch Junkyard Wars.

-- Jakey, The Rubble Rousers (, February 27, 2001.

What really concerns me is the lack of quadrapalegics on the show. It is obviously biased against mobility-challenged persons. tisk tisk.

Really people! Think about what is going on here!!!

if this continues a very scary thing will happen: Only Lesbian, crippled, minority women can get jobs! The white male has become the minority!!!

-- Jim Cairn (, March 19, 2001.

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