In continuation of our theme of diversity and inclusion, we sat down with the newest member of the FullStack Team, Gracen Perdue, to talk about her experiences as a woman in a male-majority business major at a local university. Her being a minority woman is not unique to her school, but a trend across business schools nationwide. Gracen strongly believes that advocating for gender equality in the workplace will allow more young women like her to feel comfortable pursuing male-majority majors, careers, and leadership roles.
Here are a few questions we asked Gracen about her experiences thus far:
Q: What is it like for you as a woman, in the present, to be in the more male-dominated business major?
A: At a scholarship event for business majors, I walked into the room and the first thing I noticed was the number of men that would be my peers. It can be extremely intimidating to walk into a room and recognize that you are the minority. I feel as if I must always work harder than my male counterparts to prove that I do have valuable skills to offer to any project.
Q: What barriers do you face currently as a woman, and what barriers do you expect in the future in business?
A: One barrier that I think is being talked a lot about right now is the language that is used to describe women. With the release of the new Nike Ad, this topic is being discussed more. I personally have experienced this fear of language in group work. In one group project, I was the CEO of my group and I feared to be assertive or ask my teammates to help out more in fear of being called crazy or controlling. Many times, women are called demeaning names for behaviors for which men are praised.
Q: With what you know about gender inequality in leadership in business nationwide, how does this shape your approach to your future career?
A: As a woman with big goals, I think that I have become extremely focused on my academic career and accomplishing my goals due to gender inequality in leadership. I understand just how hard it is for a woman to move through the ranks of a company and I know that I must work just as hard or harder than my male counterparts. When I look at specific companies and see that a woman sits on an executive board, I have a little bit of hope that I too can someday reach that level of leadership.
We are thankful for Gracen, what she brings to our team, and hope that with greater awareness and efforts toward gender equality in business leadership, the landscape will be different for her when she graduates and enters fully into the workforce. What is your company doing today to change the employee experience for the better for young women like Gracen? Please let us know in the comments.