The areas of study recognized as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) have long been dominated by males. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project,¹ males are six times more likely to take engineering courses than their female counterparts. For the women who do manage to fulfill their dreams of making scientific discoveries and recording significant findings from their research in a research notebook, study in the STEM fields often remain biased against women. From the time girls begin to take an interest in areas of science and math in elementary or high school, throughout college, and into the workplace, many face challenges of prejudice that make their accomplishments even more difficult. The attitudes against women who choose STEM fields for their career goals were the inspiration for a letter that is getting a lot of attention.
An article in Huffpost Women² talks about a paper written by Eastern Washington University engineering student, Jared Mauldin. Mauldin explains in the letter he posted in the school newspaper that the females in his engineering courses were not his equal. Although this might be a comment that any of these women have heard before, along the pathway to their current position, Mauldin was headed in an entirely different direction. Although he begins by discussing the inequality between the female students and himself, he continues the letter with an explanation of why the females are, in fact, ahead of him for the adversity they have already had to endure.
Discrimination without Grounds
Mauldin talks about how he did not face discouragement from focusing on hard science when he was growing up. He also mentions that society never told him that he shouldn’t get dirty or considered him bossy when he exhibited leadership skills. In addition to his college studies, Mauldin also teaches 4th to 8th grade tech classes, giving him another perspective for how girls are given more obstacles in STEM fields than boys. In both the elementary grades and in his college courses, Mauldin has seen repeatedly how often females are ignored or criticized based entirely on sex and not on ability.
Women in the STEM Workforce
Although many statistics will show gradual growth over time, those for women in the STEM fields shift between the different areas and fluctuate from year to year. Even so, the number of women represented in each field and in the STEM fields overall continues to be low. This is especially true for the areas of engineering, physical sciences, and computer science.¹ While there are more women in these areas than in the past, the prejudices remain that make it more difficult for them throughout their educations.
The attention that Jared Mauldin’s letter received tells us that there are many women out there who recognize the conditions represented by the topic and who appreciate the fact that a man in the same position as they are would acknowledge the problem. If you are a woman who has always dreamed of tracking scientific discoveries in your scientific notebook, contact the Scientific Notebook Company at 800-537-3028 to order the quality of notebook your ideas deserve.