#hearLDSwomen: Discouraged From Broadcast Journalism at BYU Because of Gender

I went to BYU and was majoring in broadcast journalism. It was 1996. When I was interviewed by the head of the department, he asked what I wanted to do as a career. When I said reporter, he told me that wasn’t a very good job for a woman. Especially if I wanted a family. He said I could miss out on important family occasions if I had to, say, go out on a breaking news story. I was too shocked and disgusted at the time to say anything. Pretty sure they didn’t tell the men that.
– Lauren Granat LaClare

 

I was thinking about broadcast journalism when I started at BYU and went to an on-campus intro. It was in an auditorium with a big group of freshmen there to learn about broadcast journalism in 2003. The presenters for the department, probably a mix of a couple teachers and assistants, said it was a career that wouldn’t work if you wanted to be a mom: you’d be gone in the mornings or evenings or have to leave at a moment’s notice. I felt all guilty, like I was choosing between the world and what God wanted me to do, so I ended up only considering the obvious backup plans that can work for a mom: teaching and nursing. I have major regrets for not believing I could do anything and pursuing something I felt passionate about.
– Katie

 

Pro tip: Not all women will become mothers. Those who do can manage a career and motherhood, if they choose to. Putting systemic blocks in the way of entire professions, assuming all women will be stay at home mothers, is sexist and unfair.


Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. Has anything like this happened to you? Please share in the comments or submit your experience(s) to participate in the series.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

 

Photo by David Boca on Unsplash

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3 Responses

  1. Anon says:

    THIS is why I will not encourage my daughters to attend BYU.

  2. Em says:

    I went to BYU and got a great education, probably just as good and definitely cheaper than anywhere else I could have gone. However, in my field, it’s important to attach yourself early on to mentors who will let you work on projects with them, give you specialized training, take you to professional conferences, and write glowing recommendation letters. Despite my otherwise exemplary performance, this was something I couldn’t seem to figure out, and it affects my career to this day. I really tried—I’d go talk to professors, ask for career advice, express interest in their research, and ask if I could work in their lab. Invariably, they’d suggest some other professor I might work with or simply say they didn’t need another research assistant. Meanwhile, most my peers seemed to have no trouble joining research groups: many were actually approached and invited by professors. I was convinced for a long time that there was some code that I was too dumb to figure out, and it hurt my confidence. To this day, when I run into my old BYU professors at conferences, they’ll sometimes comment on how I “flew under the radar” at BYU, as if it was something I did on purpose.

    In hindsight, I realize that all of the professors and virtually all of the students working in the labs were men. I don’t think it was necessarily conscious, but I suspect that my professors doubted I would really go on to have a career, and saw no reason to invest in me. Somehow that’s almost sadder than believing I was not trying hard enough.

  3. Kay says:

    There is no denying that there have been and continue to be issues at BYU in regards to gender dynamics. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see how supported I felt as a woman at BYU upon arriving there in 2015. Since that time, I have sought out female professors and administrators (of which there are not enough, but an increasing number) who have served as incredibly valuable mentors for me. Additionally, the Global Women’s Studies program really is blossoming, and I see lots of reason for hope. The Women in Politics club and Women in Business club are also sources of hope. If your daughters desire to go to BYU, support them in that. They are the ones who can make change possible.

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