Growing up and going through elementary, middle school and high school, I was always one of the "smart kids." I had a bit of natural intelligence but mostly, I just worked really hard. The kids in my classes were just as smart or talented as I was, and we all got along and respected each other for the most part. In middle school and in high school, I never felt like anyone looked at my gender as any reason to judge my intelligence. There were equal numbers of males and females in most of my classes and we all had talents and abilities that made us unique.
Coming to college really opened up my eyes to the gender inequality in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). When I chose my college, I didn't really realize just how many males there were going to be. The ratio of men to women at my college is about 7:3, which stems from the fact that it is one of the top engineering schools in the country, a male-dominated field. I walk around and I see more boys than girls in many of my classes, and I even notice that most of my professors are male. Although I am not an engineering major, I struggle in similar ways as simply a woman in a STEM field to find solid footing. I often feel like my male peers and professors do not take me all that seriously as a woman in my field. It is difficult to be a woman in a man's field because it is difficult for women to gain respect in a man's world.
This is a world where women get second-guessed solely on the basis of their gender. Women are inferior, so how could a woman know more than a man? How could a woman have a better idea than a man? Women can't be strong and independent intelligent thinkers or leaders, because that is the man's job. Women who work a male-dominated workplace like science or engineering often get categorized all together as less competent than their male counterparts, even if they hold the same position or job title based on the simple fact that they are female. The same is not true for men, in which a clear hierarchy often exists, a hierarchy in which those clumped together women are all right at the bottom.
There are so many females who work in a male-dominated workplace who are much more qualified, experienced and competent than her male counterparts but that do not get treated as such. These women could wreck the men they work alongside. These women should never be afraid to stand tall and stand strong and stick up for themselves when it comes to their work, ideas and overall intelligence. When writing this article a song came into my head and I started humming along, "Anything you can do, I can do better." The YOU is a man and the I is every strong, intelligent female working in a world of gender inequality. It takes a tough woman to take footing in a male dominated work place, and those women need to be recognized for their hard work and talent just as much as the men by their sides.