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I wiped my clammy hand on the side of my jeans, trying to be as sly as I could about it. I peeked to my left where my friend Charlotte sat, checking to see if she had noticed. I quietly breathed a sigh of relief when I realized she had been too encapsulated in the latest posts of her Instagram feed to notice my increasingly sweaty hands. I then turned to my right and spotted five of my male friends, all traveling in a pack, and I signaled them over to sit next to us. As the boys ascended up the stairs to where Charlotte and I sat, I became aware that males from all directions surrounded the two of us. Across the massive projector screen read, “Welcome to Mendoza Sophomore Registration!” 

Suddenly, the butterflies fluttering inside my stomach turned to razor-sharp arrows. Glancing around, I soon realized the significant gender disparity in the auditorium. My heartbeat excelled. It felt as though Charlotte and I were small minnows, swimming in an open ocean surrounded by sharks. Yes, I knew none of the males around me would actually attack us; yet, I still felt an unfamiliar sense of intimation. Being a freshman at Notre Dame, I was not new to facing intimidation in an academic setting, but there was something uncomfortably different about how I felt at this exact moment. As I sat with two hundred other soon-to-be sophomore business majors, I became aware of the truth that I had blatantly ignored for so long: how this gender disparity generates a sense of inferiority to my male peers. 

While I have always been credited with a creative imagination, my experience that day is all too much a reality of the business world. The lack of women in business, specifically corporate professions, is a significant problem in the United States. Since 2016, only 4.8 percent of women in the United States’ Fortune 500 companies were women. For a country that claims to be built upon the belief of equality for all, we are truly lacking in our examination of existing gender equality and the resultant lack of women in high-level business positions. 

Like most nineteen-year-olds, I have no idea where I see myself in ten years, or even five years, in fact. Career-wise, I am still unsure of what business major I want to pursue or what company I want to work for in the future. However, there is one thing I know I want in my future: to have the same opportunities as anyone else to be able to achieve professional success. Although there have been recent initiatives that work to promote women in business, the gender disparity that exists in the United States’ corporate world remains an unfinished work in progress. This paper is not meant to be a critique against men in corporate positions, but a call for equal opportunity in the business world for everyone, regardless of gender. This is the reality that cannot be ignored. This is the reality I will soon face.

 

 

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