The saying “behind every great man, there’s a great woman” rings true when you consider two male-dominated careers, pioneered by women. Women laid the groundwork decades ago, and men are now reaping the benefits.
The Huffington Post uncovered surprising findings in several competitively male careers: Women did it first. Though a woman’s place in the workforce seems equal today — estimated at roughly 50 percent — there are still evident imbalances in multiple male-dominated industries.
Much of this has to do with gender stereotypes. Gender stereotyping can be subtle and automatic. Women at the receiving end of these stereotypes — women who were raised as little girls to believe in “woman’s work” and “man’s work” — may be less likely to pursue a stereotypically male career like computer programming.
Yet the first-ever computer programmer was a woman. Today, it’s a sad fact that women make up less than 25 percent of the national technology, engineering, science and math workforce. Again, we have gender stereotyping to thank, and the rampant sexism in the video game industry doesn’t help.
We need more women in computer programming. This shift in the balance is important not only to blast unnecessary stereotypes and uphold women’s rights but to boost the economy by providing women with better job opportunities. The tech industry is only going to continue to grow. Women need a piece of this pie — and the support and resources to go after tech-friendly careers.
The medical field is another traditionally male industry spurred on by women. Millennia ago, as far back as ancient Egypt, women were the medical experts in town. Nuns in early European history made important medical breakthroughs related to child-birthing and gynecology.
The medical workforce is still male-dominant today, though the number of female doctors is growing. What caused this change? Women were considered medical pioneers centuries ago, until doctors were required to receive university education to practice medicine in the Middle Ages. Women were not allowed to attend university, and the problems began.
If history provides us with any clues, women are just as capable as men of dominating both of these career paths. But instead of domination, how about basic equality? Gender stereotyping is one major issue, and gender pay gap is another. Within the Medicare system, female doctors still only make half as much as their male colleagues.