From Male Machinist

One of the things I’ve noticed over my somewhat lengthy career working in firearms industry is the oftentimes incredibly derogatory, classist attitudes that engineers htowards tradespeople, especially female ones.

More often than not, female engineers will be pleasant, cordial, ask questions, ask for advice, not assume I’m stupid or don’t have competence to add to the situation, etc. The exact opposite is true for male engineers, especially if they’re white. They’ll talk down to me, order me around, bully me, not listen to my recommendations only to finally admit, after much arm twisting, that I was right.

This is much, much worse if you’re female or of color.

More often than not, these men are aggressive, big ego white guys with far-right conservative views that lend themselves well to being obnoxious, abrasive, bigoted, privilege-blind a-holes.

Sadly, these men consistently seem to get promotions, while female engineers who do not display these behaviors (and are better usually), do not, even if they’re childless.

These men will then claim “there is no sexism in STEM”. Unconscious bias ^ 10

There’s a saying in Egypt that Islamic extremists only recruit at engineering schools because the male students have no sense of empathy. This is purported to explain why a wildly disproportionate amount of suicide bombers have engineering degrees.

This story I think ought to explain why.

From Anonymous

Want to hear kind of a fun, positive story? I’m a millwright, one of the few women in the trade, and I worked at the Tesla plant in Fremont, first in 2017 on the Model 3 line, and then again this year, but in a different part of the factory.

The experience building the Model 3 line was my first union millwrighting job. I turned to the trade after leaving a chemistry career heavily plagued by gender issues. That job was SO much fun, and I was also surprised that everyone on the crew I was on of about 50 people was super nice and respectful to me. (Unfortunately, the problems came after the job ended, when they all had my phone number and weren’t scared of being reported to anyone, but that is another story for another time.)

Well, I decided to join the 2018 push at the Tesla factory, and I was there on the first hiring day with maybe 200 other millwrights, some of whom I recognized. One of them, whom I did not recognize, recognized me, and came up to me and said hello and squeezed my arm. And it was just…so strange. I *might* expect a touch like that from a friend (and that’s being generous), but I didn’t know who this guy was, and when he told me how he “knew” me, we’d only spent a day on the same crew, not even working near each other. I was annoyed, but decided to ignore it.

Then I got put in a small group with him and a few other people, including another woman, and we were standing around waiting for our foreman to come pick us up, and he started telling the other woman about how when he worked at the factory in 2017, there were some good looking women around, and he and a few other guys would stand at a certain corner when they walked by at their lunchtimes so he and the group of men could ogle them. When she didn’t respond, he said, “Come onnnn! It was a joke! Hey, these girls, I mean, I’m saying…YOU would look at them like that, you know? They were incredible.”

Then the foreman picked us up in a golf cart. I sat next to the foreman in the passenger seat, and this dude sat directly behind me in the backseat, and as we were driving along, he playfully tapped me on the upper arm for some reason. And the Holy Spirit overcame me and I whirled around and said, right in front of the foreman, on the very first day:

“That’s the second time you’ve touched me today. And I’ve heard you tell a dirty joke. Before you try to tell me ‘relax’ and ‘it was just a friendly touch,’ let me tell you, I was here for a big chunk of time last year, and everyone was very respectful. Nobody else here is touching me. What you are doing stands out as unusual. STOP TOUCHING ME.”

To which the foreman responded to this dude in the most awesomely angry voice, “Do we have problem here?” I felt protected.

Now, normally, I’m not sure I’d advise women to “fly off the handle” like that, but I was thinking about leaving anyway (Tesla’s exhausting), so I didn’t really care about consequences in that situation. And that dude never bothered me again. 🙂

Title: A Very Senior Woman Engineer

From: Anonymous

Every week I see the impact of the boys club in promotions, awards, bonuses, men taking credit for work led by women, women leaving projects or teams one by one, insults, demeaning behaviour, bullying, extreme criticism or being ignored or laughed at. It is a lot worse now than when I started in engineering – thirty years ago –
In particular men need to learn to respect senior women and their technical capability. Too many men seem to have turned into power-hungry or obstructive sexist gits.

Title Founder

From Claudia

I am the founder of a startup company in the cleantech sector. I typically attend country industry fairs as most of my clients are present. I spent an hour talking to a specific client that day and met him at the party later that night. He started talking to me on the topic of business and started kissing my neck about 30 seconds after. I quickly left and a year after, I still have mixed feelings about doing business with them.

Title PhD Candidate

Recently, our department announced the list of candidates for a tenure track position. Three out of four candidates were white men. In some fields that might be seen as a success but in the field this position is advertised the absolute lowest estimate for PhDs awarded to females is 44%. I wrote to my department head, who has a reputation for being sympathetic to diversity issues, that I found this disheartening as woman who is about to be awarded her PhD. His response made the situation even worse. Apparently, in order to even invite the single female, the search committee had to lower their standards and open the interviews to four candidates. He further indicated that the department had done all it could to ensure a diverse hiring pool as the committee itself was considered diverse.

Before I wrote to my department head I was disheartened but believed things could change in STEM. Now, I’m second guessing everything about my chosen career path. Will my presence always been seen as lowering the standards to be here?

From Female Programmer

I once heard a startup founder talk about how the gender pay gap is a myth and how women do not experience discrimination, only to then overhear him in private saying how he only hires women so he doesn`t get sued.

Unconscious bias my ass. Men are very well-aware of their sexism.

Title Distasteful Language

From Senior Engineer

I am often the only woman in meetings. In an hour meeting recently I heard the terms “railway pornography” (which I found off-putting, distasteful and highly inappropriate anyway) and “strawman” (back to the 80s) along with being inappropriately referred to as a guy – or excluded due to not being one – on a number of occasions. Plus not being able to get a word in until AOB time.


Title Harassed by Postdoc

From Anonymous 

When I started my PhD I thought I had joined a project with a professor. Instead, I was shelled off to do editing for his post doc’s journal papers. This post doc was not American and English was his second language. I was told to meet with him and told he was brilliant. The first few times I met with him it was fine. We had normal professional interactions. Then one meeting he decided to place his hand on my upper thigh. I didn’t know what to do. I was a 22 year old first year PhD student. I was already extremely anxious about my position in the program and my ability to succeed. I thought that it was my mistake, that I had smiled too much when speaking to him. I didn’t say anything. The next time we met he tried to kiss me. I froze. I was absolutely horrified. I blamed myself again and was left feeling embarrassed and ashamed. After that I didn’t respond to any of his emails. I avoided him at all costs. I didn’t even go into the building that he was in for fear of seeing him. That building was my department building. He emailed me repeatedly after that asking where I was and I didn’t respond to any. He found me on both Facebook and Linked In and messaged me asking where I was and if I was OK. I didn’t respond to any. It took me over a year to truest realize what impact he had on my grad school experience. He triggered an ongoing episode of feeling like I did not belong on that campus or in that program. Looking back, I would have tried to report him for harassment.

From Female Watchmaker

I work as a luxury watchmaker for a big company. Recently, some man decided to call me a whore-ologist (horologist is a synonym for watchmaker) as a funny offhand joke after I rebuffed his romantic advances.

Title Hostility in High School 

From Anonymous  

NOTE: I’m sure there’s some politically incorrect stuff in here, but I don’t have the time or energy to go back through and analyze everything for proper definitions and such…. Just keep in mind this is coming from a sleep-deprived high school freshman with an inordinate amount of math homework that has not been done.

I’ve just been majorly pissed off, and i guess this is a good place as any to vent…
Reading through these stories, I’ve realized that even though the climate of women in the workforce is changing (the #METOO campaign for example), it feels like it isn’t changing fast enough to meet that golden 2020 deadline where all our problems will be fixed, yada yada yada.
Growing up, that really is the deadline for pretty much everything for me. I’m a 14 year-old girl, graduate in 2021, and I’ve sort of had the illusion of my own awareness of how bad things are in my career path of choice ripped away. Of course, I’ve seen the effects of the lack of girls in STEM around my school (Girls who code club starting, women coming in to talk in the library, the ratio of around 6 girls to 50 boys in robotics club, etc.), but I haven’t really experienced it on the level that most of these stories are at.
Because in school, you have to play it safe, especially if you’re aiming for college. So people opt for the passive-aggressive option where you aren’t technically saying anything bad about anyone in particular, but it feels like it’s aimed at someone.
I was asked a while ago by my friend in Science Olympiad why i was doing robotics club with a bunch of mysoginistic men. Jokingly, I replied that they weren’t the ones who bossed me around, because I was the one giving orders to them. And in a way, that was and still is kind of true; in less than a year, as an 8th grader (on the high school team…I technically wasn’t supposed be on it haha), I managed to get myself into influential positions on the electronics and programming teams.
And after a sort of unspoken competition/arms race over the summer, mostly with two sophomores, I was announced as the programming team lead about a week ago.
And that brings me to today’s occurrence. I’m not entirely sure of this guy’s intentions, or any context or background, but here’s how I experienced it.
I was working with a programming mentor, one of my friends who graduated as a senior last year and came back to work with the team, when we overhear a conversation between a dude I’ll call Cactus and this other guy (I’ve known him since like 4th grade, he’s cool… I think was dragged into the conversation by Cactus).
Cactus is one of those guys who is only in the club to put on his college apps… He’s technically a programmer, but showed up like…. maybe once per week to work on programming.

Maybe I’m reading too far into this, maybe not. But he was essentially complaining about how feminists were taking up all the spots in STEM and how feminists suck so much, etc. After about a minute of him talking unnecessarily loudly about 5 feet behind me, the mentor turned around and demanded that they stop the conversation b/c it wasn’t an appropriate topic to talk about.
“Are you a feminist?” he asked me, disregarding the mentor.
Caught off-guard by the whole situation, not really expecting such an occurrence to happen, I replied with a simple “uuuuhhhh”
“Not that it’s bad or anything” says the guy who just complained about how annoying feminists are.
“I mean… I believe in equal opportunity for men and women” was my reply. I didn’t necessarily want to state a yes or no because I tend to go about life with half-understandings of words, and have accidentally offended a few people b/c I didn’t realize the full meaning of the word. But after looking it up, yes, a thousand times yes, i am a feminist.
He then went off on a mini-rant on how “yeah, I really hate those 3rd wave feminazis…. I mean, the first and second waves were fine, i guess, but those third wave feminizes… I really don’t like them”

I looked it up.

women’s suffragists are “fine, i guess”?
reproductive rights are “fine, i guess”???
but the movement that redefined the way feminism is seen to include women of all ethnicities and backgrounds is called ‘feminazi’?
what about the fourth wave, do you think that calling men out on sexual abuse is feminazi(ist?), CACTUS? Hmmmm???

Had I known the information I just looked up in a quick google search, I could’ve refuted his evidence-less argument like nobody’s business.

I never felt the need to look this information before, but it seems that Cactus is like me… He does not always understand the full definitions of the words he says. However his message was still there, even with the broad terms that most of society operates under. from my understanding of it, he is a man whose financial security was nearly assured at birth by his gender, social status, and race. He is threatened by the rising competition in the workforce and chooses to lash out at it blindly.

Growing up in this society… where, as cards against humanity puts it, “this month’s mass-shooting” is given nothing more than a glance by the vast majority of the population; where wars are raging far away from home; where the truth is constantly being put into question… It’s tiring to wake up each day, sit through an education system initially designed to make factory-workers, and come home.
Then to go to shop, what I have considered my ‘safe place’, where I can be myself, where I can learn more about how to prepare myself for my dreams. But also where it is considered a triumph when more than seven women are in the same room at the same time, where I constantly look around and realize I am alone in a room of the opposite sex, where unspeakably sexist, racist names were submitted anonymously for naming a f*****g robot, where my friend had to be written up and reported by her own mother because she kicked a person who declared that “women are just slaves to men” (literally… I don’t know who it is, but I have my suspicions… Also, they got written up to so that’s good.).
I look around and I realize that this should not be normal.
This should not be the status quo, where half of the human race is fighting desperately to be heard.
I don’t know if the world will ever be satisfied with its condition, but I certainly don’t like being questioned by people because of my sex, especially by an under-qualified majority of sheep trained to believe they’re better than other people b/c of what’s in their pants.
Because it’s not my fault if I’m “hysterical”, it’s just hard-wired into my brain. (pls don’t think that’s my opinion, I have literally the opposite view, use context clues)
I can’t really think of a good way to end this… my angry adrenaline and self-righteous fury has sort of worn off, so I’ll just leave with a little saying my mom always says:
“The best way to get back at someone is to succeed past their expectations”

You go girls (and guys)! Surpass the wildest expectations of all those toxic people in your lives!