Science Is Not A Boy's Club Anymore, And It Is Time We Started Acting Like It

By Alyssa Warth

Growing up, I was always extremely passionate about both math and science. I used to sit alongside my older brother while he studied each night and pretend to make my own math problems so I could work with him. At this young age, I never found this academic interest out of the ordinary, nor did I ever feel that it was wrong to have such an interest as a girl.

I truly felt supported in both my family and my surrounding community. But at some point, as I began to age and mature in the field, this mentality seemed to shift.

An esteemed Neuroscience professor joked with his upper division level class about how women do not make it far in the science world because “their voices are quiet.” Excuse me. Please tell me about how the volume of my voice in any way effects the quality of my career or the impact I am able make in this world. My voice can be loud if I’d like it to be, but where would that get me? How would that demonstrate my worth?  

This same professor continued to argue that a man’s “hard head” and “stubbornness” is the key to success while women tend to question themselves easily which therefore makes less successful. Sitting in that room, I wanted to yell back for him to wake up and look around.

Science is by in no means a male-dominated field anymore. Plenty of women are doctors, engineers, scientists making ground-breaking changes every single day. Girls in the field today are extremely lucky with the vast resources available to them. We have role models such as the amazing Mayim Bialik, Ada Yonath, and Jane Goodall along with multiple women in STEM organizations supporting this movement. It appears that this would create a seamless transition of accepted females into what once was a highly male-dominated field. But this evolution requires more than success stories and community support, it needs the approval of those already in the field.

From my perspective in the classroom at a University, there are still mentalities and ideals that need altering. As a woman in science, there are no short cuts. You are not provided with any secret knowledge or given any easier of grading curve. Everyone, regardless of gender, race, or sexuality, is treated the exact same way in the schooling system. Consequently, there is absolutely no reason for any sort of discrepancy to exist in the career field.  It scares me that a man such as this professor has the power to provide or deny any women a job in academia or research just like his own.

It is no longer enough for women to just be successful in this field, we must now be successful enough to turn the heads of these people and show that we are in no way different than them, we have received the same exact schooling, the same exact training, and are in by no means any less deserving of the position we occupy. We must pursue our passion in science, break down the barriers, and find our own success. We must share our voices and our opinions without taking no for an answer. We must prove that no variation between our legs have ANY impact the power of our brains.