As the only girl among forty male classmates in a Electrical Engineering class my aunt Ana had very uncomfortable feeling, which she never experienced before. She will probably forever remember professor’s class discussions and questions, for which she has always stayed quiet without participating in discussions or answering the questions, while almost everybody else gave some answers or comments. What would it look like if she gives the wrong answer? Her colleagues could think that Ana is in the wrong place, or moreover, she is just one more girl who is trying to be smart. The same story was repeated every single week. Every time she entered that class, she kept her head down looking at the floor. As the only girl in Engineering class she was ashamed. “What am I doing here?” she asked herself a hundred times during this class. Ana felt like a stranger in some far, unknown land where people speak a different language. Men are real masters of Engineering classes. It is their world and their kingdom. Why is that? Who established this rule? Where are women in that combination? Who represents them?
Since the early history and ancient civilizations, woman has played a secondary role, in which she was worth less than a man. Both in the Roman Empire and the old Greek Byzantine the role of a woman in the society, which was created and forced upon them by a man, was that a woman is only good for child rising and to be a housewife. Moreover, in most Asian countries even today, woman is stuck with the same stereotype. Also in the Arab countries, woman has been an inferior second class citizen: she was not allowed to participate in public life, also she could not be seen in any “man” place such a café, bar, or mosque. Furthermore, in Africa women is a housekeeper surrounded with her children, waiting for her husband to come home from hunting, to bring food for her and the children. Today importance and status of a woman has changed, it’s modernized I would say. In recent years, women have gained greater control over their rights, thanks to the feminist movement. They are attending college and graduate schools in greater numbers than ever before. In the area of work, women have made great strides: the once unimaginable increase in the number of women in high-status, high-income professions such as US State Secretary Madeleine Albright or US First Lady Mrs. Hillary Clinton. In addition, they achieved significant improvement in science like Marie Curie, a French physicist who won the Nobel Prize for discovering “spontaneous radioactivity”, and at the same time had been the first woman ever hired to teach at the University of the Sorbonne in Paris. Also, in show business we have world famous Tina Turner or eccentric Madonna who became a symbol of strong will and independence. In the nobility and humanity field we must not forget generous Mother Teresa who fought hunger with her human and noble mission helping thousands of African children to survive in this difficult and cruel world. Although women made a giant step toward their independence and equality with a man, they have a lot to do in future. First, we live in a world of professional men and only men; unless the professional is identified as a “lady” or “woman” we assume the person to be a male. For example there are couple of words to prove this; president, congressman, chairman etc… There is no word as congresswoman, chairwoman, secondly woman is still too often depicted in the films, television, advertising, and by the fashion industry as a sex object. If we take a look at the TV commercials or at the front page of any magazine, we can see how good-looking women are used to advertise certain products to an audience with her sexy look. Next, there is a so-called double standard about rape. Every woman knows the fear of being alone at home late at night or the terror that strikes her when she receives an obscene telephone call. She knows also of the “minirapes”; the pinch in the crowded bus, the wolf whistle from a passing car or the stare of a man looking at her bust during a conversation. Moreover, if she is raped the man will almost always escape prosecution and the woman will be made to feel responsible because she was somehow “asking for it.”
What kind of changes do we need to improve woman’s position in today’s world and make Ana feels as home in the engineering class? Probably, many women recognize that they must make their own way in the world, that they must develop their own identity rather than acquire that identity through a relationship with a man. Today woman after woman are creating and detailing their plans for becoming a full-respected person, able to survive on their own, becoming equal with a man. Woman and the society also need to gain more voices, more opinions, more competition in science, in entertainment, in sport, and everyday life. They definitely deserve full respect and attention as colleagues, as mothers or lovers. I believe as long as man, like a ruler, does not realize woman’s importance in everyday life, she will not get a real chance to prosper or to be at least equal to him.