Anything you can do…

I won’t finish this saying with …we can do better. I think that is trite and oversimplified.

I will say: Women can do amazing things, and by that I do not mean bake a really good pie.

In fact, I bristle at the idea that women should stick with “female-oriented” jobs like teacher or social worker because they are not as good at science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) then men.

Countless studies say that the brains of men and women are wired differently. I don’t know if this is truly the reason, but spend just a bit of time in the presence of the opposite sex and you will see that there is, indeed, a difference in behavior and reactions.

As I progress through my life-long “career” as a parent, I can’t help but wonder if we don’t start indoctrinating for these differences in the womb. Tell a man he’s having a son and he’ll be out buying sports equipment and toy trucks. Tell him he’s having a girl and it’s likely to be baby dolls and dresses.

Does nurture have more to do with the differences between the sexes than nature? And I’m extending nurture beyond the home situation in which we all grow up to the environment around us throughout our lives.

For example, I do believe that women are not always encouraged to excel in the “hard” disciplines, because I’ve experienced that myself. Before turning to journalism, I earned my undergraduate degree in pre-professional zoology, with a minor in chemistry, on my way toward my dream of becoming a veterinarian. But my “major advisor” was an older male professor who was adamant (and vocal) about the fact that women didn’t belong in science. So he waged a campaign to discourage the women in his classes from continuing on with this “crazy” idea of what they could be. In fact, the smartest student in my grade in our pre-professional zoology program was a woman, and she actually changed majors to get away from this man.

Obviously, not all women are cut out to work in the STEM disciplines. But they should at least be informed that this is an option. I guarantee you that engineer was never on my radar screen as a career choice in high school and college. And yet here I am, editing and writing content for engineers every day. Could I have been an engineer? I think so. I was always good at math and my mind works much more on the logical than the emotional level. But definitely not an electrical engineer. :)

Speaking of engineers and women, two years ago we inaugurated our Women with Hydro Vision awards program. To date we have given awards to 20 very deserving women who truly have been influential in the hydroelectric power industry and have some fascinating stories to tell of overcoming obstacles and smashing ceilings.

We will be presenting this award to 10 more deserving women this July at HydroVision International 2016 in Minneapolis, Minn., U.S. I would love to hear from you who you think is deserving of this award. So please email me with your nominee’s name, job title, company and contact information, as well as some information regarding why you believe this woman is deserving of the award. My inbox, elizabethi@pennwell.com, is waiting.

 

P.S. And don’t even get me started on the topic of the U.S. never having a female head of government. Is it because a female is incapable of running our country? Certainly not. I prefer to look at it as no woman is foolish enough to WANT that particular position. :)

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