Sexism in Civil/Structural Engineering
I have been working in the civil engineering field for about 5 years. My first job out of college was dysfunctional in that they made us stay long hours and work weekends for no extra pay, and there was no human resources department. I was the first female engineer they had ever hired in the 15 years they’d been in business.
When my feminist beliefs became known, I became a target of rape jokes, comments about girls being slutty, comments about girls in STEM being ugly, etc. That wasn’t even the worst part. I’ve had credit for my work stolen by the company owner’s pampered son, who also denigrated my work ethic WHILE he put his name on my work, had him attempt to pry into my personal life by contacting my friends, and when I brought this up to my manager, a campaign was launched almost immediately to discredit me.
I was purposely left out of important emails, left out of work events, had my outfits scrutinized, and demeaning and strangely personal comments made about my perceived lack of self esteem. I am still reeling from the effects of the abuse today.
That was the worst experience I’ve had so far. The everyday small things would take much longer to recall, such as a contractor constantly ordering me to smile while I’m on site visits, being talked over and dismissed daily, overhearing male coworkers insulting their wives & discussing female clients’ appearances, it goes on. It’s difficult to see any of this improving. I don’t think that it’s our job as women to change in engineering. We can encourage diversity and inclusivity in engineering(on top of our actual jobs), but until men make a concerted effort to making STEM a less hostile and sometimes dangerous place for women, unless they recognize what we go through on a daily basis, this cycle will continue.