I have a confession: I am sexist. I make sexist assumptions when I first meet other women. Ok, maybe not all the time, but it does happen. It makes me wonder: If an intelligent and capable woman such as myself has deep-rooted sexist thoughts against my own gender, then what are other less socially-conscience people thinking?

While there has been significant progress in women’s empowerment, subconscious gender bias remains alive and well. And it is a much more difficult enemy to fight off than overt sexism, because it is so well hidden. It never steps out of the shadows within our minds unless we make the conscience decision to become aware of it.

When I decided to become more consciously aware of hidden gender bias, I went online and subscribed to various blogs devoted to women’s issues. I knew that reading these daily would bring constant awareness to the forefront of my mind. One of these blogs is Feministing.com, and it was through this blog that I learned about the PulseWire community.

And oh yes…I did say I had two confessions, didn’t I? Here goes: I’m very hard on myself when first learning how to do something in the garage. Even though the learning process is, by nature, riddled with mistakes, my self-worth crumbles if I don’t quickly figure something out the first time around. Interestingly, I realized this only occurs in the traditionally masculine world of tools, nuts, and gears—even though I find such things fun and interesting. Thoughts such as, “This is too hard, I can’t do this,” repeat like a broken record in my mind. Self-directed anger develops in frustration and grows hot. I’m puzzled as to where this came from.

I grew up in a highly supportive and validating household, always being told how intelligent I was. Constantly. My superior academic nerdiness—math and science came naturally to me—was how I defined myself for most of my life. And my father was an auto mechanic, so I am no stranger to engines and grease. One wouldn’t think I’d suffer from any lack of confidence in the mental-abilities department, but, somehow, doubts snuck in. To me, this serves as compelling evidence of the existence and strength of hidden sexism. Negative societal messages were pounded into my head and undermined my self-assurance regardless of the confidence-boosting home I was raised in.

As an aspiring blogger, I believe that Voices of Our Future would be an adventure of a lifetime. It would provide me with the tools, knowledge, and network I need to boost myself into the professional writing arena, and achieve my personal vision of helping women gain confidence in themselves by slowly overwriting hidden stereotypes within their current thought patterns. By virtue of continuous examples, I desire to pound a new subconscious belief into everyone’s heads, including my own: That women are inherently smart, capable, and self-sufficient—even the "girly" ones you wouldn’t expect to be.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Journey and Vision.

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Comments

Great article, Kenia. I think I am sexist, too. Can't blame us, that's how we were reared - women can't do this. Can;t run a country, despite the several examples of brave, smart and strong women who were successful leaders.

We just have to be conscious of our own biases and install a self- correcting, clarifying method within ourselves. We wiill learn along the way.

Good luck. Hope to read more from you.

Great article, Kenia. I think I am sexist, too. Can't blame us, that's how we were reared - women can't do this. Can;t run a country, despite the several examples of brave, smart and strong women who were successful leaders.

We just have to be conscious of our own biases and install a self- correcting, clarifying method within ourselves. We wiill learn along the way.

Good luck. Hope to read more from you.

Great article, Kenia. I think I am sexist, too. Can't blame us, that's how we were reared - women can't do this. Can;t run a country, despite the several examples of brave, smart and strong women who were successful leaders.

We just have to be conscious of our own biases and install a self- correcting, clarifying method within ourselves. We wiill learn along the way.

Good luck. Hope to read more from you.

I would love to know my way around a garage! And yes, we can really be our own worst enemies. Thank you for your insightful article.

All the best,

Em

Kenia, this is lovely.... I like your article and i enjoyed going through your experience as a child. Don't i envy you that you are a Math/science guru?... I wish i was too.. Lol.

I do not aim for Perfection; Just excellence!

Great assignment Kenia, your writing really made me smile. It is amazing how much one can struggle, even coming from a supportive environment. Fighting underlying gender bias is unfortunately going to be a life-long struggle for most of it. Great to see that you want to jump into the global conversation!

Kind regards,

Rachael

"Tell me then, what will you do with your one wild, sweet, and precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Thank you all for reading and commenting. :)

@Cali Gal Michelle - Yes! Pink tools! haha!

@Nezed - Please don't envy me! I was simply tyring to show that, even with my self-confidence, I still struggle. Also, I love your sense of optimism. ;)

@Rachael - It will be a life-long struggle, but it will be worth it. I have already shattered some coworkers' stereotypical views, and it is a very satisfying accomplishment. One person at a time, that's how progress is made. :)

Kenia Perez CoFounder, www.MsJaneOfAllTrades.com