“Education opens doors for women like nothing else can,” said Faildo. “Education allows women, especially women of color, to enter the labor force and [have] a seat at the table where decisions and policies are being made so that real systemic change can occur. We’re making progress, but we have a long way to go.”
Kylie Faildo is on her way to becoming a doctor of physical therapy at CSULB. Faildo’s journey to the medical field was paved by her desire to assist people with disabilities and older adults. She graduated Colorado State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies with a minor in women’s studies. Though she enjoyed the social work field, she recognized the lack of potential for growth and financial stability.
“People with this degree usually become teachers, social workers or therapists, which are female-dominated fields and not-so-coincidentally underpaid,” Faildo said. “I don’t have regrets about choosing the degree I did, but I wish I had more knowledge about the STEM fields before making such a big decision.”
According to Business Insider, women working full time earned 81.6 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts made in 2018.
For Faildo, the importance of destigmatizing conversations about wage among women is imperative. She hopes that, going forward, female mentorship in the STEM field becomes the norm. As a woman of color entering the medical field, she recognizes the power that comes with higher education and financial independence and wants women to know their options before pursuing higher education.
Jaysyn Green graduated from CSULB with her bachelor’s degree in history in 2020. She is currently in her first year of graduate school at CSULB where she is furthering her history education. During her undergraduate career at CSULB, Green was a seasoned member of the Beach Forensics team where she competed in both speech and debate.
When Green competed on the policy debate team, she learned more than just obscure arguments and argumentative tactics.
Gender bias continues to plague the collegiate debate community. Gender marginalized individuals often are underrepresented in tournaments. According to the National Forensic journal, 85% of the competitors at the 1984 National Debate Tournament were male and only 15% were female. Among those participants, only 3% of the teams were entirely non-male.
Though the community has made efforts to close that disparity through gender minority tournaments and organizations like the American Parliamentary Debate Association have introduced initiatives like the Gender Empowerment Initiative to combat misogyny in the community, Green still experienced a slew of sexism as a debater.
“My experiences in policy debate allowed me to understand passive misogyny and identify when I was experiencing it,” Green said.
Since she was a child, Green has had an interest in history. According to Green, she felt passionate about education but discouraged when it came to the
Green is one of three women in her cohort of 12 graduate students. According to Green, she feels “hypervisible” as a Black woman in these spaces.
“When in smaller grad classes gendered dynamics does [overdetermine] classroom interactions and even levels of professionalism,” Green said. “My gender feels hypervisible as a Black woman in these spaces as well.”
Even through remote instruction, Green has experienced a “fair share” of microaggressions and sexism.
“Male colleagues have skipped over me in breakout rooms, male professors have looked over my hand, male colleagues think it’s ok to volunteer me to represent the group in lecture or to pass off my ideas or input as their own,” Green said.
Green aspires to pursue a degree in education and hopes that people understand how rampant casual sexism is in higher education.
According to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the presence of women pursuing collegiate history degrees have fluctuated over the past decades. In 2004, the amount of women in undergraduate history programs peaked at 42% before falling below 40% in 2014. For graduate students like Green, the amount of women in graduate history programs increased from 27.9% of women in 1966 to 49.6% in 2012. Two years later, in 2014, this fell to only 48.9% of women earning master’s degrees in history.
“The gender binary is a myth,” Green said. “Stop treating gender marginalized individuals so badly. Capitalism is a mutual enemy of all humans. Why be sexist when you can be anti-capitalist?”
Amanda Botelho is a first-generation college student and recent CSULB graduate. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in communications studies and has adapted her passion for writing, history and public speaking into a law degree from UCLA.
From a young age, Botelho had her sights set on becoming an attorney and knew that higher education would be a part of her path to the courtroom.
“In law school I have done one or two interviews with law firms where an all male panel was interviewing me,” Botelho said. “There’s just some questions that you know for a fact wouldn’t have been asked to your male counterpart.”
A PR Newswire study found that female lawyers outperformed their male counterparts with winning cases, yet only 46% of associate attorneys were female and only 22% were partners.
“I just wish people would understand that although women have come extremely far in this country, there is still an undertone of different expectations for us in higher education and the workplace,” Botelho said.
After a national search for a full-time faculty member for CSULB’s new creative writing MFA, Suzanne Greenberg made history in 1995 as the first female full-time faculty member in the English department.
“I had several female graduate students tell me how grateful they were to have me here, and that meant a lot to me,” Greenberg said. “[I felt] particularly responsible to the female students looking for [a] mentor of their own.”
Greenberg has a bachelor’s degree in English from Hampshire College and a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Maryland. After leaving her career in book publishing, she decided to return to school to develop her writing. During her graduate studies, she discovered that she loved being a teaching assistant and wanted to fuse her passions for writing and teaching.
“Teaching in higher ed can be [a] balancing act for women,” Greenberg said. “You have to publish, teach, develop classes, serve communities and, if you decide to have children, are often the one making sure their lives run smoothly as well.”
During her second year at CSULB, Greenberg had to take maternity leave. According to Greenberg, at this time maternity leave was limited to whatever sick leave an employee had accrued.
“I remember leaving my tiny baby and going back to finish my fall semester,” Greenberg said. “I had never been more exhausted in my life, I don’t think.”
Years later when Greenberg had her second child she had worked with colleagues to advocate for changes within the maternity leave policy to make it a more “humane and reasonable” experience.
We are seeing a reckoning of social issues, including gender inequality. Students like Green, Faildo and Botehlo as well as professors like Greenberg are proof that lecture halls are becoming more diverse and the people teaching the lectures are too.
- According to the National Forensic journal, 85% of the competitors at the 1984 National Debate Tournament were male and only 15% were female. Amongst those participants, only 3% of the teams were entirely non-male.
- According to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the presence of women pursuing collegiate history degrees have fluctuated over the past decades. In 2004, the amount of women in undergraduate history programs peaked at 42% before falling below 40% in 2014. For graduate students like Green, the amount of women in graduate history programs increased from 27.9% of women in 1966 to 49.6% in 2012. Two years later, in 2014, this fell to only 48.9% of women earning master’s degrees in history.
- According to Business Insider, women working full time earned 81.6 cents for every dollar that their male counterparts made in 2018.
- A PR Newswire study found that female lawyers outperformed their male counterparts with winning cases, and yet only 46% of associate attorneys were female and only 22% were partners.