Hardened feminists: this will open your heart 17



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Ever feel like a hardened feminist?  Remember your time in the workplace with some level of appreciation for how difficult it was and possibly still is for women in some industries?

Perhaps you’ve stopped wonder if the world works differently for young students today facing sexual stereotyping in male-dominant careers like engineering?  This  letter from a young male engineering student to the women in his class will touch your heart.  The piece was published in The Easterner, and was written by Jared Maudlin.

He wrote:

“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

What do you think?

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. ‘Remember my time in the workplace’? I’m still there! Yes, it can be tough in some industries, but I think it is colossally better than it used to be.

    2 REPLY
    • When I started out it was a man’s world. One place I worked the guys thought I was taking on too much and when I passed the exams were so very proud. I was then part of their team. I left a well paying job to go there as the other place told me that is only for men.

    • I know of a woman who was among the first to train as a firefighter. The rules allowed her to heft lighter weights than her male trainees but when tested she always took the heavier male weights as she didn’t want the older men to think she’d made it through training because it was easier for women.

  2. He’s writing to women, not feminists. Good to remember there are lots of male feminists out there

  3. I have a 25 year old daughter who is succeeding in having a wonderful career in a profession that in my day very few women would have contemplated. She has had wonderful male mentors who have helped her along the way. She has never encountered anything but encouragement from family, friends, teachers, university lecturers and tutors. Only last night my husband commented after speaking to her “who would have thought that my daughter would be doing this for a living’. One very proud daddy. Yes she still calls him daddy. I think that is so sweet. Things have definitely changed for the better.

  4. You only have to look at many toy sections in a store to know that stereotyping is alive and well. A few stores have done away with boys and girls sections but not enough. Until we as grandparents and parents buy our kids what they want with out trying to influence them with girl or boy items the better. Never should we say to our children, girls in particular, that a toy or book is for the opposite sex.

    1 REPLY
    • There is no reason not to buy your grandchildren the toy of their choice. It should take removing department identification or legislation to do this. I have always given my children, nieces and nephews as well as my grandchildren the toy of choice not the toy of gender.

  5. A must read for all of us older generation, as a 1944 vintage, how I wish some one had been this inspired during my working life.

  6. My then wife had just finished reading “The Female Eunuch” and she was giving me a long dissertation on what she thought was right and wrong about the book. This went on for the time we were in the car driving through Sydney going to visit friends. By the time we got out of the car I was totally confused about what was going on. So about a week later I read the book and I thought “Oh FRED what are we in for”

    Forty years later I’m even more confused after I look at the “Feminism” entry in Wikipedia and find there are 28 categories of Feminism.

    Best solution for me? Don’t comment. Cheers 😉

  7. He would have suffered similar discrimination if he had wanted to do child-care or 50 years ago nursing. For all the discrimination I’ve subjected to for 78 years I have never once wanted to be a man. That said, I’m a staunch advocate for equality – and there is still a long way to go.

  8. depends on the workplace I suppose.

    I was discouraged from being a mechanic and a strapper, diverse professions. I loved math and science, again I was discouraged from these. I did continue tho.

    I worked as a PA for a local council and I have never seen a more discriminatory place in my entire life. Women are ‘smiled’ at if they elect to do a good job in their profession. I became the Risk Manager (assistant officially) and Insurance Manager (also unofficially) as I was encouraged by my boss in these areas of my interest. The GM never recognised me, even tho I saved council $70,000 per year in insurance costs as I had lowered all claims by 90%, the insurance company even offered me I high paying job. I was flattered but knew I couldnt leave my family behind in the country. So after much haggling to try to secure the job I said no.

    When my boss left, his replacement didnt even recognise what I did for the company and called me the ‘receptionist’. after working there for nearly 10 yrs, I left as I couldnt stand this new guy at all.

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