I'm finishing my second year of college and I feel like I have finally found my niche. After two years of rigorous schooling it is clear what I want my career to be. I have spent 4 semesters fine-tuning my strengths and lessening my weaknesses. Now that I know exactly what my strengths are, chasing my career dreams should be no problem, right? Wrong. My dreams are harder to chase because I am a woman.
In my field directly, which is journalism, men represent more than half of the workforce. According to Journalist's Resource, women represent 1/3 of the journalism field. As a woman pursuing journalism, that statistic is absolutely terrifying. I am not afraid that I'm not talented enough to land my dream job. What terrifies me is knowing that I could be just as, if not more, suitable for a job than my male counterpart and not get it because I am a woman.
If you break down the logistics, you can see the gender disparities in media related jobs. Turn on your TV at around 6pm to watch the nightly news and the media gender gap is right before your eyes. Who's reporting your nightly news? Not a woman, I can tell you that much. Evening news broadcasts are anchored by men 64% of the time, as reported by the Women's Media Center. For NBC News, Lester Holt is the lead nightly news anchor. And if you surf channels, you'll find another man, David Muir, reporting for ABC News. I'm not saying that women aren't represented in evening broadcasts; I'm saying that they aren't represented enough. I want to change that.
Why do men dominate? There isn't a clear answer to this question but I think it's because women are still viewed as nurturing and prehistoric beliefs about the role of a woman still exist. Even though most women are superheroes, some people refuse to see us in that light. Sometimes I feel people believe that it's man's world and women just live in it.
AskMen, a website targeted for men, highlighted the advantages of being a man looking for a job. They listed the top ten careers that men pursue because they have a better chance of getting hired since they aren't female.
"A male-dominated industry is like an unofficial boys’ club with a “no girls allowed” sign on the front door. Sure, you’ll find a girl in the clubhouse once in a while, but they’re usually stared at, and her presence is a topic of conversation simply because she’s there," said Benjamin Gold, author of the Top 10: Male Dominated industries.
And although it is disturbing that some men can't take women seriously in a certain field, he did find some alarming statistics about the gender gap in the workforce:
Women comprise 47% of the accounting and finance industry. There are no female writers for late night TV. Men not only dominate being comedians, but they also dominate the audience by 60%. Among other careers that are male dominated are construction, politics, technology, math, law enforcement, and emergency services.
So what does all this mean? This means that America still has A LOT of work to do when it comes to achieving equality. As a young woman, I feel that it is my responsibility to change these numbers. I can't just sit back and say "Oh, well we've come a long way, there's nothing else we can do". WRONG. Women are so much more than just baking pies and writing lifestyle columns. There's living proof of the accomplishments that women have made.
Ida B. Tarbell, an original muckraker, exposed John D. Rockefeller's monopoly. Eleanor Roosevelt revolutionized the role of First Lady when she became the first presidential spouse to hold a press conference, write a newspaper column and speak at a national convention. Marissa Mayer is responsible for the development of Google's most famous products and was appointed CEO of Yahoo at the age of 37. Malala Yousafzai displays impeccable courage as a Pakistani human right's activist.
These women are just a small sample of how powerful our gender can be. Women can change the world and it's about time that we get hired and paid equal to men. Clearly we have proven that we are just as capable, brave and strong as men, so why are we still fighting for equal rights?
It's about time that we step up and show these men who's the real boss. So maybe in the past 100 years we've been given the right to vote. That's not enough. If I am just as talented as my male counterpart, then not only do I want to be fairly considered for my dream job, but I also want to be fairly paid.
Even though we have a lesser chance of being hired, we still need to kick butt in whatever we choose to pursue. It's important that women don't get discouraged. It's important to recognize how strong and smart women can be. At the end of the day, women have superhero powers. Let's use them.