I’m going to make a comment on the recent upsurge in the feminist movement that is probably not going to sit well with many.
I understand the feminist movement. I was raised to be a strong, intelligent and financially independent woman. I don’t think there is anything wrong with women doctors, CEO’s, engineers, or techies. I think all these things are wonderful. But why do we have to explicitly mention that they are women?
It seems to me that all the new publicity around “women” CEO’s and tech start-ups is media-soaked propaganda. It is juicy and “politically correct” and draws readers in droves.
When people ask about Condoleezza Rice, Marie Curie, and Margaret Thatcher WE as a society remind them those are women. This has the implicit underpinnings of “yes, they did good work for a woman.” Figures in politics or science should be regarded as role models or pioneers or whatever, regardless of gender. No one talks about the first man in politics or science as “the first man”. They are heralded strictly for their accomplishments, not their accomplishments-in-light-of-gender.
By making a big deal out of gender, aren’t we, in essence, launching a platform of discouragement? It’s like saying, yes you can be a scientist, but it will be more difficult for you because you have a vagina. Will it be more difficult? Perhaps. But shouldn’t that be up to the young lady to decide on her own, rather than discouraging her from the jump?
Here is a novel idea: education should start at home. ALL children should be reading and participating in their education. When they express interest in something, they should be told to do some research. Look. It. Up. We take ownership for things in life when we are required to do the work. This is how we produce children that accelerate in STEM careers – by getting them excited about the possibilities.
If a young lady says she wants to be an engineer, why do we have to specify that she can be a woman in engineering? The specificity of this statement is ridiculous. It creates and further defines the notion that it is an anomaly. It’s like a condescending pat on the head. It also shortchanges the young lady and her accomplishments. If women are truly to break through the barriers of male-dominated industries, we have to stop quantifying the issue in terms of gender and start looking at it for what it is. We, as women can do anything we want. It is society that has manufactured, and continued to perpetuate, the ideology that we cannot.