A. Hope Jahren, a professor of geobiology at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, wrote an op-ed piece for the NY Times describing the pattern of harassment that women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) careers receive. It has gotten an incredible amount of attention online and in the media.
Jahren’s op-ed included the pattern that she has noticed of how interactions with different males tend to be for women in STEM fields. She finds that it will normally start with an email sent by a male and received by a female student, professor, or worker. The contents of the email include the feelings of the male author towards the female, and makes her feel special, with “the important suggestion being that she has brought this upon herself." After the email is ignored, the woman is usually cornered by that same individual in a somewhat physical way. The woman usually tends to just go along with things, because "to resist wouldn’t just be professionally dangerous, it would seem heartless." It is not until the woman realizes that the man is not going to stop, and that he can get away with it, that she begins to understand the reality of the situation.
It is incredibly frustrating for women who are in college and in their careers who understand this series of events. Just because a lot of STEM fields are male-dominated does not mean that women should have to go through this harassment. Women are extremely capable of doing these jobs and should not have to deal with these kinds of negative distractions that take away from their studies in college and their work.
The Chronicle has reported that other women are feeling the same frustrations with the atmosphere of these male-dominated fields. Since releasing this article, Jahren has received thousands of emails from high school students, college students, professionals, and other women who have experienced this pattern over and over again. She states that she is shocked that the ages range from young girls to older women, and the stories are extremely disheartening.
Even if women are not being bothered by the men, some feel like they are on the outside. Since there a lot of men, it can be bothersome for women if they are not taken seriously as if they are unequal to the men that they work with.
The increasing number of women in the STEM fields is pushing the boundaries of the jobs that society sees them as capable of. Yet there are still a lot of hardships that they are facing. It is not okay that women have to go through these harassments and feelings of inequality because their fields are male-dominated. It is sickening. It needs to end.
Lead Image Credit: femaleentrepenuers.institute