Female Engineers By Rola Hassoun

According to the Office of Institutional Research Assessment, roughly 16% of the UMass Dartmouth College of Engineering students are female. This means, the College of Engineering is 84% male! This is not surprising considering the social and institutional barriers that drive younger women away from perusing majors in the sciences, but this is particularly interesting when discussing discrimination within the College of Engineering.

As a female engineering student, who has experienced multiple cases of discrimination while attending a different institution, I have not experienced discrimination from my professors or administrative staff at UMass Dartmouth. I have a profound respect for the College of Engineering on this campus and I have always felt that I was treated the same as my male peers. However, my male peers did not feel the same. Over this past year, many of my male peers have suggested that professors have favoritism for female engineering students. Many of them believe that Engineering professors are more lenient with grading and are more “easy going” with the females in the class. I asked several of the male students why they felt this way and the cumulative reason was “girls are just obviously treated better and professors like them more. They give them better grades because they feel bad for them. Prof. A is a creep and likes girls and Prof. B is a female so she likes girls.” This is when I realized that many male students in the College of Engineering have NO IDEA about the challenges that female engineering students face. Maybe, the entire campus community may not see the full story when it comes to our female engineering students.

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Social Construction of Gender By Sasha Sanders

I can honestly say, that of all the things I’ve learned while taking women’s and gender studies courses, the most important topic has been the social construction of gender. I believe that understanding this concept is key to helping liberate women because if everyone would realize that we only view gender the way we do because we were nurtured to do so, we would live in a world where people are more accepting of each other’s differences.

In the Judith Lorber’s “The Social Construction of Gender”, she explained that gender is a human production which is dependent upon everyone constantly “doing gender”. She says that gender is maintained as a process, and as part of a stratified and structured system; which has caused gender to be “so pervasive that in our society we assume it is bred into our genes”. Lorber’s excerpt concludes, stating that, gender inequality “is produced and maintained by identifiable social processes and built into the general social structure and individual identities”, and I absolutely agree with this statement because this is the same way that the idea of race, class has been produced in our society.

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