BYU students discuss gender equality on campus



From top left: Charlotte Scholl, Spencer Holmgren, Katherine Coombs and Jake Lockie share their personal experiences with gender equality and sexual harassment on the BYU campus. (Ryan Turner)

BYU is continuing to make efforts to eliminate campus sexual harassment and gender inequality on campus after recent Title IX changes. 

BYU recently sent out a survey via email asking students about their perceptions of campus culture and gender equality.

One of the survey questions asked students if they had frequently heard sexist remarks on campus, such as the remark that women attend BYU only in order to find husbands.

BYU marketing student Jake Lockie said there are so many smart women in his classes and women being misrepresented is “just a stigma.” 

BYU electrical engineering student Katherine Coombs said there is inequality between men and women on campus.

“A lot of times when I tell people I’m doing electrical engineering they’re like, ‘Oh really? Are you good at it?'” Coombs said. “And because I’m not going on a mission, I do get a lot of the, ‘Oh, you just want to get married, huh?’ And I’m like, ‘Actually not now, but thanks for your concern.'”

Coombs said she’s even heard men saying patronizing and sexist remarks to women while walking on campus in between classes.

“I heard this guy say to this girl, ‘Just do an easy major. You’re just going to be a mom anyway,'” Coombs said. “I don’t know how she responded to that, but I was like, ‘Yikes.'”

BYU student Charlotte Scholl said she has a friend who often feels left out as a woman in the male-dominated accounting major.

“Women just aren’t always encouraged to take opportunities the way that men are,” Scholl said. 

Spencer Holmgren, a finance major, said he thinks it would be awesome to see more women represented in majors like finance and engineering.

“I feel like just reaching out to women and letting them know that they are welcome in any major is probably what would need to be done to attract more people,” Holmgren said. 

BYU adjunct communications instructor Tracie Cayford Cudworth said she understands there is a shortage of female faculty members on campus. Only 33 percent of instructional faculty members at BYU are women, according to BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead.

“I feel it’s important for men and women to have good role models and mentors,'” Cudworth said. “That is one of the reasons why I take time out of my busy schedule to teach a communications class on campus.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email