For me being a woman is a large part of my identity. My first two years of college I was involved in the Women In Science and Engineering residential program. In participating in the learning community, we discussed largely about being a woman in the industry and how you have to work hard to be noticed and be recognized as an equal to a male coworker. Honestly though, during these discussions I never took too much of what was said seriously. In high school I was used to being smarter than some people, boys included, and having everyone I knew realize that. I never once felt like I had to prove myself.
However, now working in a real industry job I can see that more. My department is mostly women so at least the people who I work everyday with all recognize my work and effort. But the place I really noticed how men can sometimes see themselves as better is when I’m working on my internship group project. We were grouped up with people from other offices to do a risk analysis on a company involved in the World Cup. My group consisting of myself, a girl in the D.C. office, a girl in the Boston office, and two guys in the New York office, were given Fox Sports as our company. At first everything seemed fine, we were given the assignment our first day of work so none of us thought too much about it until this past month. However, now as we’re working on it more frequently, personalities are starting to come out. When we meet the boys in NY tend to just quickly go over stuff and end our meeting in 10 minutes saying we’ll discuss again in a week. At first it was fine since we mostly had to do research, but now that we have to pull everything together it becomes difficult. They decided to assign roles trying to give us girls the “easier” job of just pulling the powerpoint together because we’re more creative. But when they both couldn’t make it to our meeting last week, we realized how productive we could really be. We spent 40 minutes pulling together the PowerPoint, deleting the excessive amount of research that had nothing to do with a risk analysis, and actually got a majority done. As we meet again this week I’m looking forward to speaking up more, even over them slightly because knowing them they’ll just try to talk, because now I know how much more productive it can be when it isn’t just them saying something.