Guest post: The instructor never sits the males down

Originally a comment by iknklast on A notoriously testosterone-charged profession.

Where I teach, we frequently get female students in the automotive department. The instructor sits them down and explains to them that they will face discrimination and hostility from the males. The instructor never sits down the males and says “They will not face discrimination and hostility or you will answer to me”.

I can be charitable, and accept that he believes this is in the best interest of the female students, that he wants to prepare them for the eventuality they will face outside of the classroom, and that it never occurs to him to try to change the situation, or that he can. I can be uncharitable, and assume that he is trying to persuade the female students to leave them alone. I have no way of knowing, other than my own experience in the world, as men tried to persuade me (and women – especially my mother – tried to persuade me) that science was no field for a woman. Of the people I knew, their motive was always the same – get me out of science, married, and pregnant as soon as possible, and keep me in my place. Therefore, I tend toward the uncharitable assumption, because I have very few examples of the opposite.

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