Girls persevere despite being minority in classes


Lexi Reinstein

Zoe Adams (11) squats with landmine as part of lifting rotation. After performing this exercise she records how much she lifted.|

Imagine you walk into class on the first day of school, your eyes scan the room, and all you see is a room full of boys, and you are the only girl. There are a handful of classes at VHHS that are made up of mostly male students with only three or four students of other genders. Despite the challenge of being outnumbered, female students have not let that hold them back from excelling in their classes. In honor of March being National Women’s History month, it is important that VHHS female identifying students are recognized for defying stereotypes and persevering, despite being a minority. 

Strength and Conditioning

Strength and Conditioning is one of the classes that mostly males sign up for. Ruthie Harrison (11) is one of three females in her strength and conditioning class. Despite being one of few females, she says that the atmosphere in her class is uplifting. 

 “We all just motivate each other and lift each other up and we don’t judge each other for how many reps you can do [or], how much weight you lift,” said Harrison.

This is Harrison’s second year in strength and conditioning. She said she has been able to motivate and help other girls in her class who are new to weight lifting or the class itself. 

“It’s really empowering because you’re able to help other females that have come in,” said Harrison. 

Ami Bledea (11), one of the junior leaders in the class, finds that she struggles with getting students to listen to her as a leader because she is female. From her experience being  a leader in the class, she has learned that she needs to be persistent when trying to get people to listen to her.   

“Even if I have to say things multiple times, I won’t let other people shut down my voice,” said Bledea. 

Automotive Technology

Another class at VHHS where female students are outnumbered is Automotive Technology. Caroline Gawin (12) currently takes Automotive Technology, and she finds that people stereotypically associate automotive technology with males.

“Typically, people always tend to associate STEM related activities to men, and they don’t think that women could succeed at it,” said Gawin.

In spite of these stereotypes, Gawin has been able to prove herself and succeed in her class. Gawin finds that she is always the first or second person to finish assignments in class which she said “makes [her] feel powerful.” 

“In the class, I’ve noticed that we’re the same,” said Gawin when referring to the boys in her class.

Marley Wolnik (10) and Maiyah Williams (9) are two of three girls in their Automotive technology  class.  

Williams said she grew up around boys, therefore being one of few girls in her class doesn’t bother her. According to Wolnik and Williams, being in an autos class with mostly males hasn’t had much effect on them. Wolnik said she finds that the boys keep the class entertaining.

“It’s really funny, people are always screaming at each other, so you kind of like being in a class with all males because it’s different.,” said Wolnik. 

According to Gawin, she thinks that female students are interested in signing up for the class but the fact that the class is made up of mostly male students holds them back from signing up. 

“If someone does have an interest for it, they might be scared to be in a class with just a bunch of guys,” said Gawin.

However, Williams thinks that it is important for girls to enroll in Automotive Technology because the class teaches automotive skills that will help you out in the future. 

“Even though it’s a class that mostly males would take, I would say that it can give knowledge to future incidents or anything that happens,” said Williams.

AP Physics C

After taking AP Physics I and II, students go on to take the most rigorous physics course VHHS offers which is AP Physics C. Chloe Bote (12)  is one of two girls in her AP Physics C class. Bote says that being a minority in her class, as a female, has prepared her for challenges she may have to face in the future.

“It’s something I’ve mentally prepared for because it’s something that can generally be expected because I want to be a computer science major, which is all also, heavily not female,” said Bote.

Bote has not let her gender get in the way of her own educational experience.

“If you think about the fact that you’re one of two females, I feel like it can be a little off putting when you think about how you’re surrounded by males. However, I feel like it doesn’t negatively impact my own personal educational experience,” said Bote. 

According to The National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up 28% of the STEM workforce. Although the STEM field is statistically made up of mostly males, Bote thinks that the STEM field is becoming more and more accepting towards females. 

“I think it’s important that women in engineering classes are more normalized,” said Bote. “It’s getting there,” added Bote. 

Sports Entertainment Marketing & Media  

   Lots of people think only guys are interested in sports but Valentina Ramirez (12) and Katie Polisson (11) are defying that stereotype in their Sports Entertainment Marketing and Media class. However, they have experienced challenges being the only two females in their class.

   “I feel like sometimes it’s a little difficult with being the only girl and having all guys, especially in a sports type of class, because obviously people kind of think that girls aren’t going to know as much [about] sports, which sometimes is true, but in our situation, it isn’t. I think sometimes that can make it hard,” said Ramirez. 

 Carolyn McDonald, Sports Entertainment Marketing teacher, noted that although some semesters the females don’t always speak up as much as the males, they prove their knowledge through their dedication to work. 

Their work is definitely impressive and demonstrates the same mastery level of content as the males do,” said McDonald.

  Regardless of some of the challenges, Ramirez thinks the boys in her class are supportive of them, which she thinks makes it easier.  

  Through being in this class, Polisson learned “don’t be afraid to speak up and don’t be shy.” 

McDonald said she encourages the females to share their ideas in both small and whole group discussions. 

When they do [share their ideas], their confidence grows as their input is valued by myself and their classmates,” said McDonald.  

McDonald believes that females may not be signing up for the class because Sports Marketing is a typically male dominated field.

“Females may not see themselves being successful in an industry that has been historically dominated by males. While I believe this is changing, having more female role models would likely make a difference. Notably, our class does identify careers in the industry that are not on-camera and tend to have larger female representation,” said McDonald.