Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Will There Be More Girls Than Boys Every Summer I Work??

Since the first work/volunteer-program I enrolled in during my sophomore year of High School, I have been outnumbered by women. I never minded the imbalance, but I’ve gotten more curious over time as to why there are less men who qualify for internships like mine. Part of the observation may simply be caused by the nature of the service-dominated sectors such as nonprofit and social services that I’ve worked in. Surprisingly, when I asked my internship supervisor two summer ago, why there were only 4 boys out of a group of 22 interns, he told me that the boys weren’t as qualified. So it could also be a lack of competence.  Regardless of the smaller number of young men in government internships, I’m glad to be one of the few boys who worked with the borough president of Manhattan last summer and now with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

At my current internship, there are three boys out of 11 interns. And after my first week, I can already tell that I am going to enjoy this group dynamic. I usually find that there is more to talk about with the women in my office anyways because many of them have interesting stories. One intern named Sophie flew to New York for this internship all the way from Milwaukee! After applying for a $5,000 internship grant, she was able to cover her rent expenses for the Manhattan studio she’s living in and for food. To save money, she walks 45 minutes to work every day. Each intern at my site must complete 2 hour front desk shifts, where we answer the phone to constituents and welcome guests into the office. What’s nice about this is that we do phone shifts in pairs, so I am able to converse with my peer interns in between constituent calls. Another women named Julia, whom I got to know better during one of these phone shifts, works at the senator’s office from 9 to 4PM, and then works as a waitress from 6 to 12AM. If Julia is representative of all my generation’s female work ethic, I could see why boys are becoming less qualified!

All in all, I am very happy with my internship group this summer and am convinced that if I work in government or non-profit, I will continue to be faced by a strong presence of strong women to take inspiration from. However, next summer I plan on working in the entertainment industry, so we’ll see what that group of interns will look like!