The Truth About Being a Female Science Major

Being a girl in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field or major is a little bit of a daunting task. Not only are the majors really hard and challenging, and require a lot of work, but women are underrepresented and misrepresented in science a ton. From a young age, we are all exposed to certain stereotypes about science and scientists; namely, scientists are traditionally viewed as old, white men, with mysterious beakers and hidden agendas. However, the field is slowly but surely changing, and it’s actually possible to be both feminine and (dare I say it??) a scientist!

Here are some of the daily thoughts of a fellow girl, and STEM major:

1. Okay, so I love “Big Bang Theory” as much as the next person. But why, oh why, does it have to perpetuate the sexist stigmas surround female scientists? In this show, and many other similar shows, the nerdy science girls are made to appear way less attractive and “cool” than the conventionally hot, ditzy, blond lead. It’s a pretty rude stereotype, and only reinforces the idea that girls who do science are weird or out-of-place in their field. NOT COOL.

2. We aren’t all pre-Med students, so if everyone could stop assuming all Biology majors want to be the next Meredith Gray that’d be great. But also, if you do come across a pre-med or any pre-health student, please turn down the sass. We all know how much work it takes and that most people drop after their first or second year in college. You really don’t have to remind us, and thanks for the support?

3. No, I don’t love doing homework. My idea of a fun weekend is not doing trying to figure out how to draw molecular orbitals. I like hanging out and doing stuff, too.

4. That being said, please know that I’m really sorry when I can’t go out because I’ve got about a billion lab reports to write up.

5. Yes, there are a lot of guys in all of my classes; the guy to girl ratio is definitely not equal. No, that is not the reason why I decided to go into hard science, or why any girl would want to get a STEM degree.

6. I do wish that young girls were encouraged to pursue science if that’s what they’re interested in. I was lucky to have such a good experience being introduced to science in elementary school, but not all girls do.

7. Doing research is actually cool. And again, yeah, all of my coworkers are male, which can be frustrating. In the end, though, it’s the actual science behind it that gets me excited and makes me happy to go into work every day. Doing scientific research makes me feel like I’m making a difference in the world, and that kind of feeling is priceless.

8. However, research is not the only awesome application of the STEM field. Science doesn’t have to be stiff and lab-coat-y. It’s kinda beautiful, and the possibilities of what you can do with it are endless.

9. Also, women aren’t the only underrepresented group in the STEM fields; there can be a lack of racial diversity, too, and that is something else that really needs to be addressed.

10. I’ll never be able to walk around campus with a cute little backpack or purse. I have to lug around so many textbooks and notebooks and stuff that it’s just really unrealistic that I’ll ever be able to pull that off. While I’m on that note, please excuse me for looking like trash on the days when I have major tests. It’s pretty likely that I’ll be wearing sweats and be rocking more cheeto dust than makeup on my face. Cramming for o-chem until 2 a.m. sorta has that effect.

11. I will probably complain about how hard my major is, and how much I hate it on at least a bi-daily basis. Sorry. Deep down, though, I really do love it, I promise. Mostly.

All jokes aside, it actually really isn't a joke that about 20 percent of engineering and physics and computer science majors are women. That is a huge gap, and not a social issue that should be taken lightly. Girls should be encouraged to pursue STEM fields from a younger age, and people in general should try and keep an open mind and reject the stereotypes projected about science and scientists!