She registers for the Special Topics in Chemistry class after learning that each week a different speaker from the chemistry field presents his or her work to the class. In hopes of finding a female role model, she attends the first day of class to discover that all the lecturers will be male. Week after week, she listens to a different man speak about his experiences, and although she finds him interesting, she can not completely connect with his experiences because she is female.
After a year at the university, this woman watches two of the ten females leave the program for other majors. One of the women had felt pressure from her male professor to switch to a major "more suitable for women." The professor continually asked her if she truly wanted to be a chemical engineer, to live with chemistry twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and to never reach the level of her male colleagues. This pressure finally worked, and that female changed majors.
This woman dedicates herself to her studies and receives her B. Ch. E. degree after five years in the undergraduate program. Also receiving their degrees that day are four of the nine others that started the program five years ago. Three of the five graduates immediately start work in the industry, but they receive less pay then their fellow male graduates. The other two, including the one who has dreamt of a Nobel prize since elementary school, continue with their education in graduate school.
Graduate school involves a great deal of lab work, but now she finds
herself practically working alone with only some guidance from her male
advisor. No longer does she have to live with males running the labs; she
is free to work as slow or as fast as she wants. She is in control now.
Conditions at this level of schooling are drastically better than those
from junior or senior high school, but they have not entirely changed.
The conditions can never entirely change until there are more women in the