“I am not my womanhood”

We all are insecure. It is a basic component of human nature. However, these insecurities do not have to govern our behavior nor our desires. One of the things I am most insecure about is the fact that I am a girl. I am not saying that I am unhappy about being female; it is quite the opposite in fact. Instead, I am insecure about the way people view me because of my gender. This sense of doubt from the people around me often inhibits me, but I am working towards preventing it from controlling my actions and dreams.

Throughout my life, I have had those around me express doubt for my abilities based on preconceived gender expectations. As a student athlete, I frequently come across people who believe that sports are for boys, and that such competitive behavior is not ladylike. Often, I have thought about giving up sports because it would prevent my family and peers from questioning whether I belong as an athlete or not. Many of them believe that physical competition is not suitable for girls, and that alternative activities should be found. However, I realize that I cannot give up something that I love simply because it is not viewed as “ladylike” or “appropriate for my gender”. It is clear to me now that gender expectations are not rules; they are merely preconceived notions that sometimes need to be proven obsolete.

As a dedicated student in math and sciences, I find that I am scoffed at for desiring to pursue a career in that field. I hope to major in aeronautical engineering and to eventually work for the FBI. I know that many of my family members doubt whether I can handle the course load, and several of them have expressed their concern that aeronautics is not a suitable career choice for a young woman. Previously I would have let their doubts dissuade me from pursuing this major, but I now plan on continuing my efforts in engineering in order to show them that gender should not affect career choices.

Being a young woman today is an exciting prospect. As gender barriers are gradually declining, opportunities for women are increasing. I hope that I will never let my sex prevent me from pursuing the things that I want to accomplish. My insecurities might never completely disappear, but I will not let them control my life.