The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell published an article in their Opinions section on Mar. 10 telling every woman to “Stop trying to be straight-A students.”
Her reasoning was not so that women do not intimidate their future husbands, but because they “might be limiting your earning and learning potential.”
Rampell talked about studies done that found the likelihood a woman would major in an STEM major decreased as her grade fell. So women who received a B in Econ 101, the class used in her examples, were about 50 percent as likely as women who received A’s to continues with economics as their major.
Rampell said research suggests women may value high grades more than men do, which entices them toward majors where the grading curves are more lenient. Apparently many more women enter college with a STEM major than graduate with a degree in these fields.
It is her worry that women are not pursuing fields like math and computer science because “they fear delivering imperfection in the “hard” fields.”
I do not think this is the case at all. Rampell is a former economics reporter for the New York Times, so she is partial to the field. I have taken Introduction to Economics and yes, it was hard for me, but that is not the reason I pursued another field. Economics bored the hell out of me.
I do not think women are trying to avoid classes where they could get lower grades. In fact, most of my friends are on a Pre-Med track or in business, focusing on finance. I’m the minority in my friend group, majoring in Creative Writing, with a Journalism focus.
I think women there is a possibility women could be deterred from STEM majors because they are still seen as fields dominated by men. Yet, if this is the case, this reasoning has certainly decreased from even 10 years ago.
Women today are more determined, especially to prove we’re just as good at anything as men are. If a class is hard, that inspires most women all the more to work harder and study more so they receive the grade they believe they deserve.
I also just want to point out two things. One, not everyone is geared for a STEM major. I was on the Pre-Vet track and realized I absolutely despised chemistry.
Two, non-STEM majors are not easy. Rampell talks about the amount of homework and difficulty of courses, which might deter some from getting a degree in these majors. As a Creative Writing, sure, I don’t have to meiosis from mitosis, but I could not calculate the number of pages I’ve written throughout the course of my time at the university between papers, poems and short stories. Not to mention, the number of pages I’ve read—definitely in the thousands.
Also, I am taking upper-level Journalism course and we spend hours of outside work, interviewing, editing and proofreading to write the best stories we can.
I think women pick the major they believe they are suited for and that they believe they can make a career out of it, one they will enjoy.
When asked if she thought there were more men of women in her classes, and major as a whole, Biology major, Lexi Rasnic, said, “I think it is mostly equal, but a few more guys than girls.” Rasnic has not always enjoyed her courses, but never thought to switch simply because “I can’t picture myself doing or liking anything else,” she said.
That’s the point. Women choose their majors based on what they enjoy, whether that be learning the anatomy of the human body inside and out or interviewing people for stories.
I don’t believe that just because something is going to be hard, women shy away from it. It depends on the person. In the case of my friends, they take it on full-force and excel. Wherever the passion is, I believe that’s where attention should be focused.