The month of March stands to commemorate Women’s History Month. Going off of that exhortation to move forward, the staff of The South Texan gathered to discuss some of the accomplishments that women have made. In particular, we would like to acknowledge the diligence of women pursuing majors in STEM fields at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, while encouraging the women in those areas of study to continue to be present, and to build a reputation of excellence for themselves and for others.
Angela Garza, editorial/opinions editor for The South Texan, and an architectural engineering major, observes that there is a sense of shared accomplishment between her female classmates. “Walking into my classes and seeing those few other young women gives me this strong, unspoken sense of camaraderie, a ‘we all know what struggles we have to go through, and that’s on top of the classwork,’ a ‘hey, I see you, if anything happens, I got your back, and I know you got mine,’ a ‘one day we will make it through this, together.’”
The intuition to look after one another as a team is not unusual, given the comparative rarity of women in the “hard sciences.” In a March 4 opinion piece for The New York Times, Hope Jahren, a professor of geobiology at the University of Hawaii, noted this imbalance. The issue, Jahren held, is not that women are overwhelmingly outnumbered in graduate school. Rather, citing 2012 research from Unesco, 13 female students can be counted on for every 10 of their male counterparts. Yet, as she lamented, where STEM fields are concerned, the problem seems to be one of sticking around. Citing physical sciences as the field she is personally invested in, Jahren counts off only three women as receiving their Masters degree for every five men who do the same.
From her corner of the campus, Garza is familiar with similar numbers. “Six. Only six of us. And over forty of them. It’ll only get worse as we continue through our degree plans, moving onto higher level classes. Fewer and fewer girls. More male-dominated classes. I’m fully expecting there to be a class where I am the sole girl, not to mention the youngest.”
Regarding the puzzle of missing women within STEM fields, President Obama expressed the need to encourage women in stringent study, saying in 2013, “One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent…not being encouraged the way they need to.”
For those who lead as examples in these areas of study, the staff of The South Texan commends you for your investment of your gifts, and ask that you encourage future students to make use of their talents in the same way—having your success as motivation.
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