Month: September 2015

Dirty Job

From First, I am an

I was a junior in college when one of my male classmates came up to me after a lecture. I didn’t know his name. He bluntly, without any introduction, asked me why I’m not a nurse.

“What do you mean?”

“Usually smart girls study nursing, not petroleum engineering.”

I looked at him, completely stunned.

“Girls don’t like dirty jobs, so they go into nursing,” he continued.”

“Maybe I’m an engineer because I would rather be covered in mud and sweat than a nurse handling people’s piss and shit.”

Nursing is hard work, and I have a lot of respect for those who have that calling and can deal with bodily fluids. I can’t believe he thought that was a clean job.

The comment shook me and confirmed my worst fears; that people in the industry would think that I don’t belong, simply because I am a woman. When I was interviewing for jobs, my gender came up in nearly every single one. I finally just started correcting interviewers and telling them that I’m an engineer, not a woman.

Thankfully, I have been working as an engineer for a few years now and I have carved a space for myself in the industry. My gender still comes up sometimes in discussions with some ignorant individuals, but I still deal with them the same way that I dealt with my classmate and my interviewers. I am sharp, and to the point.

If you’re a woman in STEM, you have earned your place. You belong here. This is yours. Don’t give an inch.

From Anonymous

I’m the only female member of a small advisory group at my academic institute.  We are preparing for an institute-wide evaluation that involves presenting our research to external academics, and the advisory group is overseeing the practice talks.  After an exchange about a particular slide in one colleague’s presentation, another member of the advisory group said, “Well, if (the other male members of the group) don’t feel strongly about it, then your decision is fine.”  I’d given just as much feedback as the male members had; it isn’t like I’d been uninvolved in the discussion.  My colleague apparently just felt that my opinion mattered less.

From Anonymous

Hello, everyone.

I am a 21-year-old female, born in a developing nation (we’re a Middle Income one, to be precise). And everyday I am subject to sexism.

Let’s start with what compelled me to write this rant. I’ve been dating a boy for two and a half years now; he’s a year younger than I am, and we live in neighbouring countries. He is from a Developed Nation, but I am not. It has been hard, trying to keep this long-distance relationship going, and ever since he joined the army, he has begun pressuring me to sleep with him. Now, before you decide that I am impossible for not sleeping with him after 2 and a half years of being together, hear me out. But we’ll get back to that later. Anyway, he began telling me things that hurt; how his men in the army would invite him to trips to the brothel, how they talked about “the fun” they had last night with their women, how he turned away women who “evidently wanted to sleep with him”. Feeling a self-righteousness upon refusing all the above, he tells me REPEATEDLY how bitter he feels because he doesn’t get to sleep with me, pressuring me into it. And that it’s his biggest concern in our relationship.

Now, getting back to what I was saying above: I CAN’T sleep with him. And he knows this; I’ve told him multiple times. He uses emotional blackmail on me now (“I’m bitter, but it’ll go away EVENTUALLY.” ), and it’s making me really depressed. My reasons are simple: I can’t afford to. I’m 21 years old, and in half a million dollars worth of debt. That debt came from my EDUCATION. I come from a family where my “rightful” place- the only things I’m good at- is in the kitchen, or holding a mop. I can’t afford to get pregnant (let’s admit it, contraceptives don’t always work and condoms come with holes sometimes), or the child will suffer the same fate, AND I can’t work to pay off my debt. Abortion is not an option (heck, it’s not even legal in this country!). I work two jobs at the moment while juggling my university matters; life for me is as tough as it gets. Yet, he can’t put himself in my shoes, and all he wants from me these days is sex, and as someone to complain to about how “terrible” his life is, it would seem.

Here, in this country, women are blamed all the time for being too “loose”. When rape happens, it’s because the woman “asked” for it. Why have we become such a sexualized society? Why can’t men think, for once, what women mean when they say “no”? Or why can’t they “love” us enough to RESPECT our bodies?

Girls here are trapped in homes- yes, it still happens. Girls who aren’t allowed to go to school, because it isn’t in their “place” to do so. Because their fathers decided that they don’t deserve it.

Men are such monsters.

Getting to class early

By Undergraduate Biologist

This semester I am taking a general Chemistry class, and there are about 80% of women in this class most of them either Biology majors, prenursing or Agricultural majors. Well a few of us, showed up early the other day and entered our lecture hall. The professor from the previous lecture was still in the process of collecting his things, he looked up  saw all these young adult women, and asked ” is this a family consumer and science class?”  We were all a bit taken a back to answer him, he eventually left but his assumption was very telling.