The never-ending fight for gender equality

Selena McPherson/The NewsSelena McPherson/The News

The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.

Selena McPherson/The News

Selena McPherson/The News

It’s 2016 and people all over the world are still surprised when women have the audacity to do  “a man’s job.”

It’s 2016 and awards with titles that begin with “First woman to…” are still being bestowed upon women.

It’s 2016 and Murray State still has to partner with the Kentucky Foundation for Women on a grant labeled “Gender Equality: I’ll Know It When I See It.”

On Feb. 4, the Murray State Women’s Center and the Office of LGBT Programming organized a writing workshop for women pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees – “a man’s degree.”

According to a statement by the Office of LGBT Programming, the goal of the workshop, facilitated by award-winning writer Constance Alexander, was for these women to, “tell their stories about the risks, rewards, stereotypes and successes associated with pursuing careers in fields traditionally dominated by men.”

It’s almost as though a woman making a choice to apply her talents and skills to a STEM career is like making a choice to try some new drug that may or may not be approved by the FDA. You could do it and there might be a favorable outcome, but know the risks.

Possible side effects may include: judgment, a smaller paycheck than your male colleagues, doubt, underestimation, having to work twice as hard to receive half the credit, being called “bossy” when you may actually be the boss, patronization, nausea and anxiety. Talk to your expectedly male doctor before considering STEM-related majors.

How many women does it take to permanently shatter a glass ceiling? Surprisingly, less than the amount of men it takes to finally get around to screwing in a light bulb or replacing the toilet paper roll. Add up all the gender stereotypes in the world and multiply it by 2,016.

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a world where we discover, and practice, the true meaning of “equality?” The world may never know.

On one hand, we have a hypocritical governor telling us STEM majors are the most valuable and deserve the most incentives. On the other hand, we have a society with an apparently unshakable, archaic foundation telling women that STEM careers are too intimidating and out of their league – that they’re undeserving and invaluable.

Conclusion: we’re walking around with grimy hands in an invariably unsettling world.

So let’s get our hands dirtier, shall we, ladies?

Turn those glass ceilings into the glass doors of your dream company and walk through them with your head held high. There’s no need for shattering the glass, breaking in or forcing your way through – you’re earning a degree in something you’re passionate about and talented in, and doors will be opened for you in recognition of that fact.

Do whatever you need to do in order to push further and lengthen the paths of trails that have been blazed and re-blazed for decades  by generations of powerful women before you.

Write your stories, work harder than anybody thought you could and relish in the fact that you’re proving ignorance-incarnate wrong.