STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math; the four components that make up some of the hardest fields to work in. However, growing up, English and history were always emphasized in school. We were always required to take an English class and there was no way of getting out of it, while math and science classes were optional in the later years. From as early as I can remember, I always preferred to do math problems rather than read any type of book, while my classmates were the opposite. I realized that I was one of the few who really enjoyed math, science, and technology classes, and I was also part of an even fewer amount of girls who liked math, science, and technology. From a young age I realized this wasn’t the norm. Most girls did not like math, science, or technology like I did. In elementary school I knew I wanted to be some sort of STEM major when I got to college, specifically computer science. Now that I’m in college, I did just that.
This spring semester I’m taking my first computer science class, Intro to Programming. On the first day, I walked into the class and realized the girl to guy ratio was way off. There were far more guys in the class than I had expected there would be, but coincidentally the teacher was a girl. At this point I realized I had just started a long journey of what it’s going to be like as a girl in a male dominated major and profession. Nobody really thinks about what it’s like to be a girl in a mostly male field, but it’s a lot harder than it looks.
When people ask me my major and I say I’m a computer science major I typically get reactions varying from, “Oh, wow that sounds hard, are you sure you can do it,” or “I wouldn’t expect that from someone like you.” Whereas when a guy says the same thing, the reactions they receive are positive and sound like nothing out of the ordinary. After a while I’ve learned to just ignore what people say about it, but in reality, those perceptions shouldn’t happen in the first place.
We live in a generation where women are not just housewives, waitresses, teachers, receptionists, or nurses. Women are now programmers, doctors, engineers, mathematicians, and researchers. The perception that a woman cannot do a man’s job is now wrong. Yes, STEM is a hard field to be in, but that doesn’t discredit anyone from being in it, especially due to gender. There’s more women attending college than men now and the number of women in STEM majors is rapidly growing. I want to be in the generation that a woman being a programmer is normal and not looked at differently. March is Women’s History Month and it’s time to start believing that women can be STEM majors. Women can take over the STEM world one day and that day could be sooner than you think.