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Not Just a Man’s World Anymore

By Shea Huffman

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform,” author Diane Mariechild once stated, and her words could not be truer. Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) celebrated Women’s History Month on March, 2014 I decided to interview two women in two different fields, one in nursing and the other one in film editing.

Each can offer a different career outlook on the equality of men and women.  One has a career that is mainly female-dominated, and the other is entering a predominantly male-dominated career. I wanted to interview both of them because they are in two fields I am considering, and because I knew they would have different opinions on the subject of gender equality.

Margaret Varner is a registered nurse on a medical surgical unit at Scottsdale Memorial Hospital. I chose Varner as my expert source because she has already completed her education, and is currently in the midst of her first years as a nurse. The road to her career was not an easy one; she had to earn an associate’s degree, pass state board certifications called “NCLEX” and complete a standardized statewide test.

According to Varner, women are treated the exact same as men when it comes to nursing. “It is a very respected and trusted profession, consisting predominantly of women, so women have really promoted nursing as a profession,” she stated, confirming my assumptions that the career was mainly carried out by women.

Varner explained that one-in-seven nurses are women, making that around an 85 percent rate. “In nursing, there really is no gender gap [when it comes to pay],” says Varner, “it is equal for both men and women. It is not really about gender, but rather the work one does. You get paid according to supply and demand, experience and credentialing. The amount of effort you put in, whether male or female, will match the salary you are paid.”

Nursing used to be a stereotyped career, where people would look at you strange or roll their eyes if you said you wanted to be a nurse. It was just a woman’s job and nothing more.  However, that has changed in the past years, as more men have decided to join the profession.

Varner is adamant about how much she appreciates being able to this job every day. “Nurses can really affect people, and they can make a huge difference in how a patient’s prognosis turns out. I wouldn’t want to be anything else.”
Cassidy Tilden is an 18-year-old student at Arizona State University (ASU), attending college to pursue a film degree. She is aiming to be a video editor for either movies or television. Her career field, compared to Varner’s, is male-dominated.

Tilden quietly admitted, “I feel a little intimidated by it. The males in my industry make me feel inferior compared to them; behaving as if they are automatically better than me. The work has to speak for itself, because a lot of people underestimate a woman in this field.”

Women also earn less than men do in film editing, which is a discouraging prospect when entering the field.

Although many women are beginning to stand up and squeeze their way into the career, many others are too afraid of being pushed to the side simply because they are female.

Tilden stated, “I wouldn’t say I’m confident. But I definitely will not let it discourage me from working in the industry that I have a passion for. I will have to work twice as hard, but that’s okay. It just prompts me to be the best I can be and constantly improve.”

I found this to be extremely uplifting. It gives women a more positive outlook on being independent and doing what their heart pulls them towards, instead of shying away from it.

Despite the disadvantages Tilden faces in her career, she refuses to give up on what she has always dreamed of becoming. Her parting words were particularly moving: “Constantly challenge yourself. Be unique. Everyone wants to be the next Quentin Tarantino. What makes you different? Revel in the differences. Expand yourself and always be creative, and never give up on your dreams.”