1. “I don’t want to join your team because there aren’t a lot of girls.”
When joining an FRC team, anyone and everyone is welcome to join despite the number of people that you have matching genders with. I constantly hear females coming up to me telling me that they joined the team at the school down the street because there were “No girls on the team here.” And of course my very pointed and suggestive response is always “If there are not any girls, you joining the other team is not fixing the issue.”
2. “So do you guys have anything that isn’t building? Like, what are the girls supposed to do? “
There is nothing the girls are supposed to do. I find that a majority of girls in FRC teams tend to end up doing the background work (i.e. Marketing, recruiting, fundraising etc.). Many of them enjoy the work but some of them state that it is something “all the girls do.”
3. “She can’t drive, women are horrible drivers.”
Not only is this sexist, but it takes away from the inclusiveness of the word team. I hear this one most often from veteran members that are both male and female who are used to having an all-male drive team due to that one stereotype.
4. “You’re the vice president/captain? You’re a girl though, that doesn’t make sense.”
I have personally experienced this comment after earning the title of Vice President of my former team. I sometimes hear snickers around me in the audience about how confused they are when they see a female on the field during alliance selections. A captain is a captain. A leader is a leader. Gender should not play a part in who gets to be what.
5. “I’m the only girl on the team. I should get an award.”
No one deserves an award just because they “showed up.” Someone deserves an award because of their dedication to the team’s success and commitment to the team. There are a surprising amount of females I have encountered inside and outside of the FRC community who truly believe that being the only female of the team automatically makes them better than other girls.
The reason why I wrote this post was to raise awareness about how even females force themselves into stereotypes and sometimes make the STEM community a non-inclusive place. As a female, I believe that other females and males need to make sure that the FRC/STEM community shows diversity both through gender, age race and etc. There is nothing more degrading to a human being than to have them be discriminated against over something they cannot control.
This blog was written by Michelle Le. If you are interested in blogging forFIRST Ladies, sign up on the schedule.