Posts Tagged ‘ gender bias ’

Pink Diplomas: Gender Bias in Upper-Division Math and Science

By Amanda Bertsch

This essay was written for Tri-City Prep’s Math Honors class, which asks students each spring to write a paper on a topic in mathematics.

“What are you even doing here? You belong in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant.”

These are the words that greeted Eileen Bertsch when she went to ask her calculus TA a question. Shocked, she didn’t respond, walking away without the answer to her query (Bertsch). The year was 1980.

Almost a century after the first women graduated from engineering programs, she was facing some of the same blunt rejection that these pioneering women engineers struggled through. As a freshman in college, she was hearing the same sexist rhetoric that had persisted for decades, still as sharply obvious as ever. Her calculus TA, while a particularly blatant example of why women are underrepresented in engineering, was only one of a series of challenges she and her sister Patricia Haslach would face as they earned engineering degrees. Continue reading