Jared Mauldin, a senior mechanical engineering student at Eastern Washington University, penned a letter to his female classmates in the school's newspaper that opens with a pretty blunt statement:
"...you and I are in fact unequal."
But before you worry that it's yet another Op-Ed hating on women or attempting to debunk arguments about the vast inequality they face when entering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, take a seat. It gets a lot better.
"I did not, for example, grow up in a world that discouraged me from focusing on hard science. Nor did I live in a society that told me not to get dirty, or said I was bossy for exhibiting leadership skills," Mauldin writes. "...I was not overlooked by teachers who assumed that the reason I did not understand a tough math or science concept was, after all, because of my gender."
Mauldin even touches on the issues of entitlement that make some people believe that "their jobs are being stolen" by attempts to diversify their hiring processes (Because, spoiler alert: Someone else being hired doesn't mean the job was "taken" from you) before ending with an acknowledgement that entering male-dominated fields can be really, really tough.
"When I experience success the assumption of others will be that I earned it," Mauldin writes. "So, you and I cannot be equal. You have already conquered far more to be in this field than I will ever face."
Now, no one is saying that a dude deserves a cookie or a parade every time they speak out on these kinds of issues. But what's great about this Op-Ed, as Mauldin told the Huffington Post, is that it'll hopefully "help some more men begin to see the issues, and begin to listen to the women who have been speaking about this all along."
As for the viral attention, Mauldin told MTV News that he "never even considered" that the post would go beyond his campus.
"Now that it has, the response has been incredible. Really amazing women from all over the world in all sorts of interesting fields are reaching out to share their experiences and to simply say thank you for acknowledging this publicly," Mauldin said. "It has been a very stressful week for my introverted personality, but a very rewarding one as well."