When Jared Mauldin saw how his female peers were treated, he realized men and women in STEM are definitely not equal.
The senior in mechanical engineering at Eastern Washington University sent a letter to the editor of his school’s student newspaper, The Easterner, addressed to "the women in [his] engineering classes." Mauldin’s introduction, in which he writes that he and the women "are in fact unequal," seems problematic, until he explains why.
"I did not, for example, grow up in the world that discouraged me from focusing on hard science," he wrote. "Nor did I live in a society that told me not to get dirty, or said I was bossy for exhibiting leadership skills."
Mauldin, who also teaches tech classes to students from fourth to eighth grade, told The Huffington Post he frequently sees women and girls face obstacles in STEM fields. He described a situation with one friend in particular who was treated differently in a calculus class simply because she is a woman. Mauldin said that male students were hypercritical of her work and often talked over her, if acknowledging her at all.
A study published in the Harvard Business Review in March 2015 highlights the sexism that exists in STEM fields. According to the study, two-thirds of the 557 female scientists surveyed "reported having to prove themselves over and over again."
Since it was published, Mauldin's letter has been shared on Twitter and has gotten thousands of likes on Facebook. He told HuffPost he believes his praise for the women in his engineering classes and the letter have gained so much attention because he's a man, which isn't necessarily a good thing. However, he is happy to add to the conversation about sexism.
"Nothing I said was new, it has all been said a thousand times before. The difference is that I am a man," he said. "Maybe by standing up and breaking the silence from the male side, I can help some more men begin to see the issues, and begin to listen to the women who have been speaking about this all along."
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