Feminism in STEM

MEGAN LONGSTAFF
Guest Writer
longstmr@plu.edu

How is it that when one demographic tries to move forward, another group gets held back? Injustice can be a two-edged sword in which removing prejudice, another is created.

This past summer, a viral movement started where women engineers took pictures with the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer. The campaign started after a tech company’s ad featuring one of their female employees sparked uproar about gender stereotyping in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics field.
As a woman in science and engineering, I am well aware of the gender gap, but that doesn’t bother me. What is bothersome is how some people go about changing this and try to make the field more diverse. It has become more about identifying what makes male and female engineers different, rather than blurring the lines between genders. The feminist movement in STEM singles out women in the field by labeling differences like appearance and constantly identifying science-inclined women as heroes.

How can women expect to be treated as equals in a field they keep separating themselves from? Hackbright Academy was founded in 2012 and is the number one software engineering school… for women. By segregating themselves and closing the education opportunity for men, the college aims to promote women in the STEM world.

This divide isn’t necessary because it’s easier for women to get accepted into engineering schools. nearly 30 percent of the female candidates were accepted to MIT in 2003 as opposed to only 11.6 percent of their male counterparts, according to College Confidential. I personally hated knowing during the college admission process that I could be denying a more qualified male a well-deserved spot just because I had two X chromosomes. I am a person, not a means to get your diversity statistics up. I want to be judged on who I am and what I do, not what I am.

There are special societies and scholarships solely for female engineers and scientists as well. Organizations like the Society for Women Engineers (SWE) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) promote the growth of women in STEM by providing additional aid that a “stereotypical male engineer” would be unable to receive, potentially hindering somebody else’s opportunity to make the most of their abilities.

This favoritism towards women is unfair because we are punishing men now for prejudice they had no control over in the past. It used to be a hierarchy of men over women, but the times have changed and we need to move on with it.
I think the most painful part of the effects of feminism in STEM is how it negatively impacts women. We may get great perks like easier admission and additional money for education, but this push to increase the number of females in technical fields sends a message to younger girls that is counter-productive.

By creating girl-specific engineering toys and having campaigns to teach girls science and engineering, society is telling them that they can and should be engineers, but different engineers. They will be female engineers. Why not just create all engineers equal and all STEM education universal? Why must we have a female empowerment movement to provoke change in STEM?
So many kids of both sexes dislike science and math, so don’t boys deserve an equal chance to become more educated as well? In my view, stop trying to force change and diversity.

If the numbers shift naturally then so be it, we have achieved diversity and equality. But the more women are separated from the science and engineering fields for the sole purpose of making us “equal,” the worse the epidemic becomes.
Feminism is corrupting STEM and making the divide bigger. I shouldn’t be congratulated for taking an engineering class, like it is some brave task, as if I am accomplishing an impossible feat. I should be treated like any other kid who wants to be an engineer and whatever it is I do should be impressive not because of what I am, but because of what I can accomplish. Stop trying to make it about the feminist agenda and start making it about the advancement of science. 🅼

2 thoughts on “Feminism in STEM

  • October 1, 2015 at 12:22 pm
    Permalink

    This is a wondeful article. Strong intro with several good points to establish an overlooked point of view. I definitely agree.

    Reply
    • October 1, 2015 at 3:49 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks so much for your feedback and for reading Mast Media! We appreciate all the support!

Leave a Reply