STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths. Statistics clearly illustrate that STEM careers are predominantly occupied by men. One of the biggest contributing factors to this includes gender-stereotypic beliefs, where women are seen as the best fit for more social and care-related careers whilst men are believed to be the best fit for more technical and maths intensive careers. In addition, it is these stereotypes which contribute towards defining the roles men and women should play in their society and home. This leads to holding individuals back from opportunities and making their ambitions towards pursuing a career where it’s stereotypically the opposite-genders domain, extremely difficult and as a result unfair. From a young age girls are handed dolls whilst boys are handed building toys. I searched engineering toys and baby dolls on google images. The results I found did not shock me; over 90% of all marketing for engineering toys had little boys in their pictures whilst for baby dolls, it was almost 99% all girls used in marketing. Why are girls expected to generalise with taking care of babies and pulled away from careers involving technical work? The issues is not little girls and boys choosing to be involved in these tasks but it's when society takes that choice away from them. Boys should be exposed to taking care and cooking from a young age instead of abruptly told these things are not for his gender.
It is these careless acts, which subconsciously tell infants what’s appropriate for their gender instead of giving them the choice. Infants are conditioned and reinforced towards these patriarchal roles and it must be addressed.
This week @women_in_stem and I collaborated on Instagram where they sent over a range of question relating to my career and women in STEM. The following are my answers to the questions they sent me.
1. What is your name, and what are you currently studying and where?
Hi, my name is Faza and currently, I’m an undergraduate cardiac physiology student at Manchester Metropolitan University. I’m in my second year, which means I spend my first term in placement. The hospital I have been assigned to is one called Wythenshawe Hospital here in Manchester. Wythenshawe hospital is one of the best hospitals for any student to be assigned to because they are highly specialised in Cardiology with an exceptional Cath lab.
2. How did you become interested in cardiac physiology?
My inquisitiveness towards analysis, human physiology and problem-solving has always drawn me towards a healthcare care profession. The complexity of the human body and in particular, the anatomy and inner working of the heart has always fascinated me. As a result of further reading and my work experience, I was encouraged further to embark on a career where medical and emotional support are both delivered simultaneously, to give patients the best care. My placement has allowed me to put my skills and all the theory I have been and still am learning at university, into first-hand practice and witness the significance of my contribution upon the patients I see. I could not be more satisfied with my choice of career.
3. What classes do cardiac physiology students take?
Students on this course get a very holistic experience as they spend time in university and progressively longer time on placement as they progress through their degree. The full-time degree requires a lot of dedication and time. Classes can get quite intense with an overwhelming amount of information during lectures. However, being on placement helps see the information being applied to real life, which enhances your understanding and eases the theory aspect.
4. What careers can you have with a degree in cardiac physiology?
Although the course is extremely specific, however, after graduation it can become even more specific. The two routes you can take consist of specialising in echocardiograms or pacemakers. Usually, students make this decision after being exposed to both, either towards the end of their degree or after graduation.
5. What has been your favourite part about studying cardiac physiology so far?
My favourite part about studying cardiac physiology is spending time and caring for patients on my placement. Getting a deeper understanding, of how cardiac-related illness can have profound consequences upon an individual’s life has enriched my desire to learn more and spend more time with a wide range of patients. Spending time with patients has also allowed me to see how a range of factors including lifestyle, family background, gender and more can leave our hearts in such vulnerable situations. This I have found immensely intriguing.
6. Why did you start @yourrights_blog?
Your rights blog is the Instagram page to my blog website. Education has been the most important thing in my life and it’s what I have always been encouraged towards ironically, mainly by my mother, who wasn’t even able to finish primary school. My blog page is me raising awareness of feminism, equality for both men and women and I strongly believe for something like this to be established then education is the best source of guidance. If more girls were given equality and the right to a full education around the world, we would not only be educating women but a whole future generation too.
7. Why do you think it is important for more women to go into STEM fields?
I believe women should be encouraged to be and become whatever they like regardless of whether that’s in STEM of any other career. However, I am aware women can be discouraged and pulled away from professions relating to STEM, which is why they are male dominating careers. Women should be informed, given the same encouragement, given equal opportunities and not judged by their abilities to pursue a career in STEM because of their gender. If these factors are rightfully addressed, I believe we would get more women pursuing careers in STEM.
8. Who inspires you?
Everyone! I take something positive from everyone I meet and work towards implementing that into my actions and thoughts. You will always find something inspiring in all individuals… trust me.
9. What is the best advice you would give to girls interested in STEM?
People will inspire you, guide you and help you to some extent but the biggest help to you is yourself, so work hard and be there for yourself. Have confidence in yourself, aim high and strive without letting ridiculous social norms confine you or hold you back from what you deserve.
10. What is your favourite cardiac physiology pun/joke?
You’re such a QT