I debated for awhile posting my opinion after seeing some annoying backlash - but figured now is better than ever I guess.
There are many posts here which provide a very nice example of the issues I have to deal with most days at school. For example, just two weeks ago we had a project due in this Distributed Computing course I was taking. Due to some health problems the original professor was unable to finish the semester. The following week a different, yet equally versed on the topic, professor came in. Since the original professor was both late as a new hire, and left, the new professor gave us a choice between the original "hard" project, and one which was "easier".
For some background - since day one of college I thought that I would fall behind in school compared to the male students. I didn't get to program since the time the universe began and I really thought myself much less skilled than my peers. I didn't know the tips and tricks, I knew the basics which only could go so far. I took it upon myself to start learning on my own to get ahead (and later realized I wasn't behind at all, but actually very far ahead) and I was able to use my knowledge on the original project. I turned the project in, received a 100 where the average was an 82, and the teacher thought it was well done so he wanted to demonstrate it. For once I wish that if I did well on a solo project my classmates would give me a pat on the back and say "Hey that was really neat! Would you mind explaining how you made that?".
Instead I was met with accusations that I had slept with the professor in order to achieve my grade - when if I had done worse or average nothing would have been said. I guess I could have just gone to the professor which starts a whole "denying" chain on a fictitious event while makes me look like... well.. someone that does sexual favors for grades. Why would I want to put myself through that?
I worked hard on my project - putting in much more effort than my peers, and I was rewarded. To be told that I just had the professor write the code for me and sleeping with him for the grade.. it honestly really hurt.
In this instance the only two options I have are deal with it and hope it gets better, or change majors. Changing majors seems silly because I honestly love programming and computers. So dealing with it currently seems to be the best option as I believe that after school it will not be this way. Sure some companies will always discriminate against groups or individuals, but that just comes down to me doing research on companies before applying.
However I still must deal with:
- No one wants to group with me because I am seen as lazy and will not do any work.
- As above, even if I do work, it is seen as always broken or not working.
- I am seen as less intelligent than my peers, even when I demonstrate otherwise.
- I am just a kiss up trying my hardest to flirt my way to an A pretending to care, when I honestly care and love programming.
- My opinion doesn't matter because of biological differences.
It is immensely frustrating seeing people here post some of the most absurd opinions when they have honestly no idea what it is like. Sure you can tell me to man up, that I am just being a cry baby or whatever, but these are real issues that I have to deal with on a day to day basis. Or somehow I brought this upon myself when I honestly didn't. Telling me I am just a child/baby, or looking for attention/sympathy, is honestly insulting because I honestly just want to be treated the same by my fellow male students.
I guess I somehow brought this upon myself - maybe I sneezed when I was 3 which caused a chain reaction in the space time continuum. Or I just found the single thing I want to do with my life, something I am honestly passionate about, and decided to pursue it when I had the opportunity. That thing just happens to not be "girly" enough, so I guess what I really need to do is become passionate about something girly that will make me money. I like to spice it up though and make the area around my computer girly, with my backlit keyboard coloring the letters pink to program on. It makes me happy
Now granted I am a single individual, however, my friends at other schools have had very similar experiences which resulted in them changing majors. I do not believe my experience is "one in a million" but rather something very ordinary that is largely covered up.