The Women’s Marches this past weekend have surprised, inspired, confused, and angered a lot of people. I do not promise to have a unique take on the matter but that does not stop me from needing to share my story:
I had heard about these marches in advance but had no intention of partaking. When I turned my TV on Saturday and watched footage of these peaceful protests I was in awe. Millions of women peacefully gathered together to fight for something they believe in. To me, that is inspiring. Regardless of your political views please take a moment to acknowledge this huge accomplishment. Not a single arrest was made in Washington DC. Peaceful protest is possible. The more footage I watched and the more pictures from friends I saw the more I wanted to be there. I am amazed at the variety of voices that spoke out that day, the variety of rights that were advocated for, and the variety of responses that have since come out.
Two days later I sit here thinking about what my own sign would have said as I marched with those other women. In college I took 18 math classes. I was one of two maybe three females in those classes. I was a minority for the first time in my life. There is a stigma that mathematicians and other STEM careers are for some reason a man’s job. I would consistently have peers ask me why I was in these math classes and when they found out that it was to be a teacher they would tell me, “Good for you” or “Of course.” How dare anyone even suggest that the only reason I was in these classes was to be the less important role of a teacher. How dare they think that their future career plans were better than mine because they were a more qualified male! And most importantly, had I chose the same careers as them how dare they make more money than me just because they were a man. I took 18 math classes in college. I graduated cum laude. Do not underestimate my ability to be just as qualified as a man. My sign would have read, “For all the little girls dreaming of being scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and computer specialists.”
I am proud to know so many women who fight for women’s’ rights. I wish I had been with you on Saturday. Thank you for fighting for something it took me two days to put into words. Thank you.