Although these supposed advocates of women’s equality may be well intentioned, it frustrates me to see them wholeheartedly buying into the sexist way our society assigns value to different professions. In our society, fields that have been traditionally occupied by men (including engineering) are seen as much more prestigious and worthy of financial compensation than those traditionally occupied by women (such as child care and social planning). It strikes me as highly suspect that only those performing “men’s work” are taken seriously, and it aggravates me to see this paradigm so rarely questioned. As a working industrial engineer, I benefit from this system. I’m well paid. Nobody belittles my career choice or makes negative assumptions about me because of it. Strangers knowing nothing more about me than my my job title say things like, “Wow, you must be really smart.” But what if I had taken my love of science and used it to inspire kids as an elementary school teacher? What if I took my organizational skills and became an office administrator or a secretary? What if several years from now I jump ship to become a stay at home mom? Why should I be afforded less respect?
— It is my hypothesis that if the current cultural push to include more women in STEM fields is successful, in the next twenty years we will see a gradual but dramatic tapering of salaries, as well as the general cultural cachet of sciences and engineering.