Jared Mauldin, a mechanical engineering student who lives in Cheney and attends Eastern Washington University, is turning heads with a letter to the editor of the university’s newspaper, the Easterner, that deals with sexism in the sciences.
Mauldin grabbed the attention of readers by addressing the letter to women in his engineering classes and then stated, though it is his intention to treat them as his “peer,” he is unable to do so because “you and I are in fact unequal.”
Readers might expect Mauldin’s letter to then turn into a rebuttal of women’s rights activists and President Obama, whose White House website asks “Did You Know That Women Are Still Paid Less Than Men?” However, instead of an argument aimed at discrediting the well-documented “wage gap,” Jared Mauldin’s letter turns into something quite different.
Pointing out that women students in his class may earn the same GPA, Mauldin notes that he still feels that women studying engineering are not his equals.
The letter starts to show its true intention with a comment about gender differences in global society.
“I did not, for example, grow up in a world that discouraged me from focusing on hard science.”
Mauldin then makes note of the fact that many women were, as children, encouraged not to get too “dirty” and that women with strong leadership skills are often regarded as “bossy.” The engineering student also makes note of the fact that, as a man, he was never rejected by his peers for choosing to study science.
“I was not bombarded with images and slogans telling me that my true worth was in how I look,” Mauldin writes, “and that I should abstain from certain activities because I might be thought too masculine.”
Observing the fact that he has seen intelligent women being dismissed by teachers when grappling with a difficult math or science problem, Jared Mauldin comments that the same thing has never happened to him.
Mauldin also notes that he will not be the subject of remarks in the future, labeling him as a “diversity hire,” as many woman do.
“When I experience success,” Mauldin eloquently states, “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.”
Today describes a peer of Jared Mauldin, Holly Jeanneret, who, despite excelling in math and science, he saw other students refuse to work with in lab projects, that some spoke over top of her, and that others, when talking with Mauldin, would act as though Jeanneret “did not exist.”
Mauldin then made light of his experiences with male and female children; he works as a teacher as well. He described smart girls who display an interest and aptitude for science fail to sign up for science classes. Parents have stated to Mauldin that the girls “feared” taking part in a class entirely comprised of boys.
The letter has received support on social media and has been shared thousands of times, which Mauldin admits frustrates him. The student/teacher feels that if the letter was penned by a woman, it may not have received the same attention, something that he feels is a major problem.
On average, women are paid $0.78 for every dollar that a man earns. The White House notes that this affects their ability to take care of their families and the amount available to save for retirement, averaging $431,000 over a lifetime for each woman in the United States. President Obama has expressed support for a Paycheck Fairness Act, which would make it illegal for an employer to pay a man and woman who do the same job different wages.