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Male engineering student’s letter to the women in his class goes viral

A letter from a male engineering student to the women in his class explaining the inequalities he saw between the genders has gone viral and sparked a nationwide debate on women in engineering in the US.

Jared Mauldin is a mechanical engineering major at Eastern Washington University. He wrote an open letter to the female students in his class, explaining why the genders were unequal. The letter was published in the university newspaper, The Easterner.

The letter said: “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.

“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 that I was bossy for exhibiting leadership skills.”

The letter went on to say: “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’.”

The letter was shared on Twitter sparking a nationwide debate on mainstream US media, including NBC News, on the the subject of gender equality in engineering.

Mauldin wrote on Twitter yesterday: “The response has been both amazing and overwhelming. It is starting a conversation, and that is all I could ask for.”

It comes as the UK debates the issue of female quotas within engineering, after the president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Naomi Climer said that quotas could be one of the measures employers could use to increase diversity in the profession.

Readers' comments (1)

  • I am a Chartered Civil Engineer. I have 2 adult offspring, one male and one female.

    I spoke to each in the same way when explaining my world of engineering and general education of aspects in the wider world.

    My son was never going to be an engineer because of his love of literature, language and history. My daughter was always going to be an engineer because she wanted to be a problem solver and lead project teams. She was never going to be a Civil Engineer 'because they didn't get paid enough' and through her love of chemistry became a Process Engineer.

    In their own ways, they have achieved their goals and found positions that suit their interests after studying what was available.

    My summary would be to open everyone's eyes to the opportunities in the world of engineering. I have worked with female graduates and engineers who were suited to various aspects of engineering, but not all. Exactly the same as with their male counterparts. My mantra would be to accept everyone as a person and, most certainly, no quotas or box ticking.

    John Elliott

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