A student’s letter explaining why men and women are not equal in his engineering class has gone viral gathering over 1.4million likes on Facebook alone.
Jared Maudlin, a senior in mechanical engineering at Eastern Washington University in the US, wrote to the editor of the student paper after seeing his female counterparts struggle to have their voices be heard in STEM subjects.
“To the women in my engineering classes,” writes Jared Mauldin, a senior at Eastern Washington University. “While it is my intention in every other interaction I share with you to treat you as my peer, let me deviate from that to say that you and I are in fact unequal….I did not for example, grow up in a world that discouraged me from focusing on science.” With eloquence, this mechanical engineering senior goes on to address many of the societal challenges facing women entering STEM careers.
Women are dramatically underrepresented in many STEM fields, particularly engineering: in 2012, only 18% of engineering bachelor’s degrees in the US were granted to women. It’s also common for women who graduate from engineering programs to leave the profession, often because of discrimination and hostile work environments — something Mauldin also tackles in his letter to the editor published in the current issue of his college newspaper, The Easterner. “I have had no difficulty whatsoever with a boys club mentality, and I will not face added scrutiny or remarks of my being the ‘diversity hire.’ When I experience success, the assumption of others will be that I earned it.”
Mauldin also addresses the societal attitudes that teach girls that intelligence and ingenuity are not what we celebrate in women: “I was not bombarded with images and slogans telling me that my true worth was in how I look, and that I should abstain from certain activities because I might be thought too masculine. I was not overlooked by teachers who assumed that the reason I did not understand a tough math or science concept was, after all, because of my gender… So, you and I cannot be equal. You have already conquered far more in this field than I will ever face.”