A male engineering student’s inspiring tribute to his female classmates

Jared Mauldin firmly believes that female STEM students aren't equal to their male cohorts and he isn't afraid of airing his views. The inspiring twist in this tale, however, is that the 34-year-old engineering student has become an internet sensation after an impassioned letter to his university newspaper highlighted the humbling brilliance of his female peers for succeeding against all odds.

Engineering's gender divide is a topic that PIF has covered, and will continue to cover, at great length to raise awareness of the issue. Imagine our delight when we saw recent coverage of Jared Mauldin's moving tribute to his hardworking female classmates, who continually strive for and achieve success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, despite the many obstacles put in their way.

Jared Mauldin engineering

The engineering student's letter Eastern Washington University's newspaper, The Easterner, makes for essential reading for any engineering or STEM subject professional – no matter what stage of their career. We'd go as far to say that it should probably be on the reading lists of every engineering course from now on!

'You have already conquered far more to be in this field than I will ever face'

Here's Jared's letter in full, which he addresses to the women in his engineering classes:

While it is my intention in every other interaction I share with you to treat you as my peer, let me deviate from that to say that you and I are in fact unequal.

Sure, we are in the same school program, and you are quite possibly getting the same GPA as I, but does that make us equal?

I did not, for example, grow up in a world that discouraged me from focusing on hard science. Nor did I live in a society that told me not to get dirty, or said I was bossy for exhibiting leadership skills.

In grade school I never had to fear being rejected by my peers because of my interests. I was not bombarded by images and slogans telling me that my true worth was in how I look, and that I should abstain from certain activities because I might be thought too masculine.

I was not overlooked by teachers who assumed that the reason I did not understand a tough math or science concept was, after all, because of my gender. I have had no difficulty whatsoever with a boys club mentality, and I will not face added scrutiny or remarks of my being the “diversity hire.”

When I experience success the assumption of others will be that I earned it. So, you and I cannot be equal. You have already conquered far more to be in this field than I will ever face.

Gender inequality sadly still exists in engineering

We think that's a fantastic sentiment, made all the more powerful by the fact that it's a man who has stood and highlighted the gender inequality that sadly still exists in engineering and the wider STEM fields today.

What do think of Jared's letter? Has it moved you? Have you experienced some of the issues he describes and, if so, what does it mean to hear him stand up for greater equality in engineering? Let us know, we'd love to hear from you.

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