At the institute I had the opportunity to study in a boyish group – I chose this profession for myself. Studying in such a group was very difficult and exciting at the same time.
The head of our department made every effort to ensure that at the formation of the group enrolled at least 5 girls. So, in September there were five of us: Lena and I acted on our own, and three more girls were enrolled at the direction of the head of the department. In October, there were four of us left, in December, three of us, and in the second semester, Lena and I were already alone. Thus, all the efforts of our manager were in vain.
The first thing that surprised me and outraged was the attitude of teachers towards female students. The instructors (and these were exclusively men) held the view that girls do not belong here. Most of them openly advocated this view.
I remember, we come for the first time to classes to one such associate professor. He taught us physics. When he sees me and Lena, he comes up to us and says sarcastically: Oh, what a curse! (I have really curly hair) Some ryushechki and curlicues on my mind, – he continues. – Whether to physics here! Have you ever heard of the Compton effect, blue-eyed naivety?
In general, I plucked up the audacity, and answered him in tone: And I thought that the teacher, burdened by an academic degree, would teach the basics of thermodynamics, and he confused them with wave processes! Oh, I tell someone – they won’t believe … He was stunned. But such a sharp rebuff on my part at the first lesson had the desired effect. This teacher was objective to us.
So we had to conquer almost every teacher. Years later, when I myself was already working as a teacher in this department, one of my colleagues told me: Dasha, I must ask for your forgiveness. I remember that I put you four in the first year (this four was my only one), although you answered better than your classmates. Then I could not come to terms with the idea that a woman understands higher mathematics. This recognition was sincere, it touched me to tears, especially since it came from a top-class specialist!
All my student years, I had to get something from my classmates. At first, they, like the teachers, tried with all their might to prove that the girls had no place among them, the chosen ones.
To be honest, at first I really thought that they might have deeper knowledge than mine (after all, many of them came from specialized physics and mathematics schools). But this fear came to me after one of them told a culturology class that Leo Tolstoy was a silver age poet, and the other at a history seminar told how Peter the Great defeated the Swedes in the Sea of Azov. Such masterpieces were not considered!
Already in the first year, they shamelessly wrote off all the tasks for me in those subjects that were not specialized (this, in their understanding, was not considered shameful), and in the second course – and in special disciplines. In the third year, someone asked for a program written by me, after which all restrictions were finally removed. Naturally, my lecture notebooks were replicated in an amount corresponding to the number of fellow students.
To achieve that I was perceived as an equal, I managed already by the second course, it was much more difficult to ensure that the guys remembered that there was a girl among them. I speak of myself in the singular, since Lena, in her second year, married our classmate, and absolutely did not take part in the life of the group. Her husband did all the tasks for her, and she sometimes did not appear at the institute for weeks.
From the first days I had to fight desperately against profanity. I remember when once again a masterpiece was issued that could not be translated, I approached the young man (these were the first days at the institute, and I didn’t even know his name) and asked: Can I ask you to do a great favor and not express yourself so obscenely at least in my presence?
My question put him in confusion, but he quickly found the answer: You can ask for something, of course, but I cannot guarantee full satisfaction of your request! We both laughed. So we first found a common language with Andrew. We must pay tribute to him, he fulfilled his promise and ceased to be one of the first.
By the third course, in my presence, the guys did not use profanity, moreover, students from other groups were not allowed to express themselves when we had common lessons.
And the boys loved to chat at breaks, sitting on the tables. Imagine the picture. I sit at the table. Suddenly in front of me right on the desk one of my fellow students lands. So to say, pop in full screen. I do not know why, but words could not convince anyone.
For a week I carried a small cactus in a pot with me! And every change put him on his desk. Why do you need a cactus? – someone asked. And you think, – I answered significantly. Everybody’s laughing. Cactus helped! When someone later forgot himself, the mere mention of a cactus was enough for him to jump off the table with an apology.
Student years were so fun, but also incredibly difficult.
Why I raised this topic
Every year girls came to us, but many of them left, without sustaining psychological loads. When I stayed at the department, a lot has changed. The attitude of teachers to student girls has changed. The presence of a female teacher made students take a different attitude to their classmates.
No matter how much we talk about gender equality, there have always been and will be professions in which men are mostly engaged. However, even in such purely male professions as pilots, bus drivers, machine tool adjusters, programmers, designers, machinists, you can meet women.
In such areas, it is much harder for a woman to make a career for herself than for a man. After all, a woman has to be not only an excellent specialist in her field (better than most men — otherwise she will not get through), but also constantly psychologically defend her right to do what she likes.
Girls who consciously, at the behest of the soul, choose such professions, need help. If your daughter wants to become a programmer – let her be it! Just help her, prepare for possible difficulties! And if your son has been beckoning the sky since childhood, let him know that girls can have such a dream too!
And note that I have covered the problem one-sidedly. There is also the flip side of the coin. My classmate studied at the Faculty of Philology. They had a girl group. When I asked her if there were boys in their group, she said: Yes, there are two, but are they boys? We consider them as girls. Who knows, what if they could become great poets ?! But with such an attitude it is hardly possible …