AAUW panel discusses rolesAs a teenager growing up in Mexico, one woman said her parents expected her to live at home until she got married. The residents of Tijuana, Mexico, are traditional, said Carolina Stromberg, 29, who now works as a buyer at Goodrich in Jamestown. But Tijuana residents aren’t as traditional as interior cities, she said.
By: Katie Ryan, The Jamestown Sun
As a teenager growing up in Mexico, one woman said her parents expected her to live at home until she got married.
The residents of Tijuana, Mexico, are traditional, said Carolina Stromberg, 29, who now works as a buyer at Goodrich in Jamestown. But Tijuana residents aren’t as traditional as interior cities, she said.
Stromberg shared stories of her childhood, relocation to the U.S. and cultural disparities between men and women as part of the “Overcoming Gender Barriers” panel discussion Tuesday to an entirely female audience of about 15.
American Association of University Women sponsored the presentation as part of International Women’s Day.
Stromberg’s parents told her they’d support her if she lived at home, she said, but if she left, they’d give her nothing.
But even with no money and little support, Stromberg moved out. She pursued a college education and graduated with a degree in industrial engineering. Of all the graduates with that degree, about 10 percent are female, she said.
“A lot of people think science is just a boy thing,” said Mareike Geyer, a study-abroad student from Germany.
Geyer studied seventh through 13th grade at an all girls’ school. She said her studies were more intense and focused more on academics.
Like Stromberg and Geyer, Anthoula Hanse, originally of Greece, shared her stories and experiences too.
Hanse and her family moved to Pennsylvania in the 1960s, when she was 19. Since then, Greece has changed some of its traditional values, Hanse said. But women are still repressed.
For example, women in the media seem smart and well-educated, Hanse said.
“But you look at them and they’re dressed like bimbos,” she said.
Growing up, if a girl and boy were alone together, society viewed that as shameful. Greek women were expected to go to school, grow up and get married, she said. And a woman’s virginity was the most important.
“It didn’t matter what else you were,” Hanse said.
Now, the situation has reversed. When 14- and 15-year-olds have sex, the parents understand. Promiscuity is expected because women are supposed to be liberated, she said.
“(It’s) just the opposite but still a form of repression. We can never win it seems,” Hanse said.
Sun reporter Katie Ryan can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org