In the fall of 1974, I was a brand new freshman at SDSU, having only just graduated from high school that spring. I remember looking around my first chemistry class of about 75 students and counting only two women, another student and me. This was typical at the time. Nearly two generations later, thanks to the continual work and tough sacrifices of those who have raised awareness and changed attitudes in our society, today’s gender ratio at SDSU is 55% female to 45% male.
The Soroptimist mission is to improve the lives of women and girls leading to social and economic empowerment, and we believe the best way to do that is through education. Higher education for girls leads to better career opportunities for women with the ensuing freedom of choice and power to make changes within their societies.
My student lab assistant is an exceptionally talented young man who has many opportunities for his future career. While describing his plans after graduation, he surprised me by mentioning that the best guidance he had for a science career outside of academia was from his mother, a high ranking employee at a large biotech company, and they have had many discussions about his future. It is completely natural for him to look up to her as a role model for science.
In my work at SDSU today, I often see women as directors and leaders of important research, and that young men, as well as women, graduating today are fully accepting and respectful of women in charge. It is heartening to know that this real change has been effected in my lifetime.

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