Women With Dreams Are In!

AJ Sugg, Senior Reporter

In the last few years, many women have decided to pursue alternative careers. However, the number of women in these industries is still low compared to men. In 2019 alone only 23.6% of workers employed by automotive manufacturers were women. And only 31% of small business franchises were owned by women. Due to the alarmingly low number of women working in these industries, they have become extremely misogynistic and unaccepting of women, making it difficult for women who want to pursue these careers to get the support that they need in order to become successful.

At the Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Center, a variety of career-oriented classes are offered and all students are encouraged to take them regardless of their gender. This kind of encouragement has made classes diverse and inspired students to ‘think outside of the box when it comes to their interests. Mya Gregory, a senior at Clackamas High School, has been taking the automotive class at Sabin Schellenberg for three years. She is the only woman in her class period. Gregory is very curious about the field and was inspired to take the class because of her grandfather who built his own truck.

“I love the way it sounded when he turned it over; I was very curious about how it worked,” says Gregory. 

Although her curiosity and interest is strong, Gregory has been faced with adversity because of her gender. “I feel like I don’t understand as well or that they (her male classmates) are on a different level. Even though I have tried to learn more it always feels like they are a step ahead.” 

This is not an uncommon feeling. According to recent national data, 23% of women feel that they are treated as if they are incompetent by their male co-workers and bosses, which is an alarming number compared to the 6% of men who share the same opinion. However, Robert Chrisner, Gregory’s automotive teacher, has been particularly encouraging to her. “Mr. Christner does a good job treating us all like adults and equals and provides all of us with the same opportunities.”

Teachers like Christner are fundamental to the future of young women wanting to go into automotive. His reported support and encouragement have led to Gregory progressing into the higher level automotive class. 

Another course that is offered at Sabin-Schellenberg is the Business and Management class. This class, however, has a more even number of men and women in the higher levels despite business being a notoriously male-dominated industry. Isabel Trujeque, a senior at Clackamas High School, has been taking the business class since she was a freshman. 

“Since middle school, I always had it in my mind that as soon as I entered high school I was going to take a business class and most likely continue to take them my whole high school career,” Says Trujeque. 

 Both Trujeque and her brother were always told to value having a good career, this was something that inspired her to take this class as well. She has had a great experience in this class throughout the years., However, there was a multitude of times she says she felt singled out because of her gender, just like Gregory. “The first class I took freshman year all the guys would talk amongst themselves. If there were projects they would only take each other’s ideas. And if they didn’t have to work with us they wouldn’t,” says Trujeque. “that class mostly had guys so it wasn’t very balanced.” 

A shared experience between many women is being questioned about their knowledge and this is something that Trujeque has experienced. “It (Trujeque’s knowledge of business) has been questioned many times and will be questioned in the future,” She continues,  “I have talked about different things for classes that weren’t even for business and have been told that I was wrong. Even if they haven’t verbally said something like that, I know many people have questioned what I have said,” Trujeque says. 

However, her sophomore year she felt like she was listened to more and since then, her circumstances have gotten better. Trujeque will be going to college for a marketing degree and wants to go into the film industry to be an executive.  “We shouldn’t look at careers and decide that one is meant for men and the other for women,”  Trujeque says. “Just do it, it’s a cliche but just do it. It will be worth it in the end.”

Meanwhile, Gregory has recently accepted a job at a Toyota dealership.  “Keep with it and if you’re curious, go find answers,” Gregory says, “Always take the opportunities given to you.”