Gender inequality in education

A photo of a newspaper article

I just realized that in 2016 I wrote many posts about women, about issues that women go through on a daily basis and in my posts I have always addressed to some boys saying that it's time to change our mentality in order to promote gender equality.

I know we hate that guy who harassed us on streets or the one in the news who raped a girl or those who do honor killings and many more. It's totally fine.

But today I do not want to talk about those who do not respect women, I want to talk about those who are with us in this battle. Those who are totally against injustice towards women and are working day and night to ensure that women are safe. Yes, they exist and someone once told me that "Yeshna you don't need to be a girl to see that gender inequality is wrong" and they are right. Somewhere boys do understand the struggles we go through and as Emma Watson said regarding #HeForShe "I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves."

Regarding this issue, I came across a letter that a male engineering student sent to the editor of his school’s student newspaper, The Easterner, for the women in his engineering classes. Here it is:

To the women in my engineering classes:

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.

Sure, we are in the same school program, and you are quite possibly getting the same GPA as I, but does that make us equal?

I did not, for example, grow up in a world that discouraged me from focusing on hard science.

Nor did I live in a society that told me not to get dirty, or said I was bossy for exhibiting leadership skills.

In grade school I never had to fear being rejected by my peers because of my interests.

I was not bombarded by 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.

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.

So, you and I cannot be equal. You have already conquered far more to be in this field than I will ever face.

Jared Mauldin
Senior in Mechanical Engineering

By the way were you aware that according to a study by Harvard Business Review, two-thirds of the 557 female scientists surveyed “reported having to prove themselves over and over again"? Even today, gender inequality in education still persists and men and women in STEM are still not equal. Jared also described a situation with one friend in particular who was treated differently in a calculus class simply because she is a woman. Jared said that male students were hypercritical of her work and often talked over her, if acknowledging her at all.

“He further says "Nothing I said was new, it has all been said a thousand times before. The difference is that I am a man. Maybe by standing up and breaking the silence from the male side, I can help some more men begin to see the issues, and begin to listen to the women who have been speaking about this all along.”

A big thanks to him and I know that there are many more like him too. All my respect to you guys. Indeed men and women are equal but different. I hope that in 2017 more boys and men take this initiative and talk more about gender issues because gender inequality affects us all. Education is a way of empowering people but if within education sectors there is inequality how can a person thrive?

Ending this first post of 2017 with this saying “Equality is not a concept. It's not something we should be striving for. It's a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who's confronted with it. We need equality. Kinda now.” ― Joss Whedon