Drawing the Line on Gender Inequality: Encouraging All Academic Pursuits
“You are minoring in computer programming? Are you sure you can handle that?”
“You are going to be surrounded by a bunch of guys.”
“Yeah you’re pretty good at math, for a girl.”
Why is the reaction to my declaration of interest in a math and science field firmly refuted by perplexity as opposed to welcomed with encouragement and pride?
My initial interaction with such reactions peaked in my high school Multivariable Calculus class; go figure. As I hesitantly rose my hand each day in class, only to be ignored in favor of my outnumbering male counterparts, I grew rather impatient with the resistance I continually faced. My comments and questions were often disregarded as subordinate or somehow insufficient purely based on my gender.
Why should I, a driven student interested in the intricacies of something other than humanities, be held captive by the traditional confines of my gender? As an individual looking to explore her path in the workforce, I should be afforded the opportunity to freely choose between various career opportunities, regardless of how academically rigorous or atypical it may seem to be.
Sure, women are traditionally thought of as those expected to graduate college and begin their endless quest to get married, have children, and take care of their family, but call me crazy if I refuse to be confined by such constraints as a member of the 21st century.
As I stumbled upon the following article, Why Are Women Leaving the Tech Industry in Droves?, I got to thinking about how this issue is not held only by young women along their educational journeys, but rather has also altered the major life choices of countless established women well into their tech careers. Tracey Lien, the contact reporter of this article, comments on the professional paths of various interviewed women with unique talents in the fields of math and computer programming. Despite their tremendous success in the industry, these women have dropped out of the field of work they love purely because their skills have been categorized as an “invaluable investment”.
Since when is learning to code invaluable?
One of the women in the news story explicates her frustration with the industry as she states,
It has become commonplace to assign value to women only working in traditionally “feminine” industries such as marketing, public relations, teaching, and nursing. One would hope that marking an occupational field as somehow “unfeminine” today would not exist, and in fact would be shunned with movements towards gender equality on the rise. However, as evidenced by both my personal experiences and those of the women with 15+ years of experience in the mentioned article, we have a ways to go with this issue.
How might we move towards fixing this and how can we encourage young women to feel more welcomed in traditionally masculine-dominated industries? I believe it is essentially on us as a society to work with girls, starting from a young age, and instill true academic confidence within them in more than just merely their English and History classes. We must foster growth as well as applaud achievement in subjects across the board in order to work towards altering the attitudes currently dominating girls in the classroom and eventually the workforce.
If we continue to make concerted efforts towards legitimate academic and professional gender equality, teachers will hopefully think twice before deciding to shrug off the question of a young girl in the front row of a high level math class purely based on her biological makeup. Sounds pretty silly when you think of it so plainly, doesn’t it?
It is people like me who struggle with the consequences of such gender discrepancies when trying to progress my aspirations in the business-world. However, I am proud to say that it is companies like StartEngine that help bridge this gap. Equity crowdfunding has furthered the opportunity for entrepreneurs across the nation to gain access to capital. This is only the beginning of an era when equity crowdfunding will enable the involvement and encouragement of female entrepreneurs in a traditionally masculine-dominated space.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of author Celine Shooshani. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: https://www.startengine.com/assets/Disclaimer.pdf