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Cervantes: The days of double standards

BY CHRISTOPHER CERVANTES | FEBRUARY 06, 2015 5:00 AM

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On Feb. 3, NBC News ran a piece on the most diverse member of the New York City Fire Department, Sarinya Srisakul. She is one of the few women to break into the predominantly male Fire Department. Srisakul said many are often surprised by her occupation, even her own family.

The native of Thailand native said: “They looked me up and down and said, ‘They let women be firefighters in America?’ They didn’t believe me. They wanted me to show them proof, pictures of me in my gear.”

I believe every person in our world should be equal in terms of her or his possibility to achieve, regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, religious association, or sex. One of the longest running struggles for equality is the double standard about the sexes in the workplace.

It’s kind of sad that even in 2015, people such as Srisakul, those who pick professions not stereotypically associated with their gender, still are considered odd in their career choices. Certain popular professions hold dramatically fewer females. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women compose roughly 13 percent percent of the engineering workforce and 13 percent of the civil-engineering workforce. The total numbers of engineers in the United States is roughly 2.5 million. That equates to only roughly 324,350 women engineers in the United States. Compare that with Canada, where roughly 20 percent of engineers are women, and it becomes apparent how far behind we are in terms of sex equality in the workplace.

Women are not the only victims of such misrepresentation. Men also find themselves under the harsh gaze of the professional world. Take, for example, the nurses of our nation. According to the most recent data (2008), the percentage of male nursing students, out of 3 million nurses, only 6.6 million of them were male. The same study then discovered that of all the incoming nursing students, only 13 percent were male. Those who decide to take this career path are often ridiculed because of their sex for taking a “woman’s job” or “Not being man enough to be a doctor,” as if it is beneath them,

The question now is, what does this mean? Despite all of our nation’s preaching and propaganda-like declarations of fairness and equality, the predetermined stigmas in the job field reveal that this is not an entire truth. All three of the career options I have listed above are entirely respectable and necessary for the safety and well-being of the populace. For what reason could there be for such discrimination?

Media and other outlets have conditioned us to believe that certain individuals fall into certain jobs. It is a subconscious response that seems to be permanently stuck in the current adult generations. However, I do see a chance of change in the future. I notice that present day media have featured more sex equality in their programs, and because media reflect the present times, this is a positive sign.

Hopefully, by the time I officially join the work force, the percentages of males/females in certain career paths will be closer to a 50/50 split. Until then, it’s up to the minority genders in their professions to stand as role models for future generations.


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