I'm Gonna Be An Engineer

Words & Music:

Peggy Seeger


G            G6             G              G6

When I was a little girl, I wished I was a boy.

G                G6                G              G6

I tagged along behind the gang and wore me corduroys.


Ev'rybody said I only did it to annoy,

          A7               D7

but I was gonna be an engineer.


G                             A    B

Mama told me, "Can't you be a la - dy?

     C          G           Am          D7

Your duty is to make me the mother of a pearl.

G                                  B7    C7

Wait until you're older, dear, and may - be

G                   D7       G

You'll be glad that you're a girl."


Em          Bm      Em                         Bm

Dainty as a Dresden statue, gentle as a Jersey cow.

Cm                    G

Smooth as silk, gives creamy milk.

C             G

Learn to coo. Learn to moo.

Bm                             Am    D7

That's what to do to be a lady now.


When I went to school, I learned to write and how to read,

Some History, geography, and home economy.

And typing is a skill that every girl is sure to need

To while away the extra time until the time to breed.

And then they had the nerve to say, "What would you like to be?"

I says, "I'm gonna be an engineer!"


No, you only need to learn to be a lady.

The duty isn't yours for to try and run the world.

An engineer could never have a baby!

Remember, dear, that you're a girl.


S,o I become a typist and I study on the sly.

Working out the day and night so I can qualify,

And every time the boss come in, he pinched me on the thigh,

Says, "I've never had an engineer!"


You owe it to the job to be a lady.

It's the duty of the staff for to give the boss a whirl.

The wages that you get are crummy, maybe,

But it's all you get, 'cause you're a girl.

She's smart! (for a woman). I wonder how she got that way?

You get no choice, you get no voice,

Just stay mum, pretend you're dumb,

That's how you come to be a lady today!


Then Jimmy came along and we set up a conjugation;

We were busy every night with loving recreation.

I spent my day at work so he could get his education,

And now he's an engineer!


He says "I know you'll always be a lady.

It's the duty of my darling to love me all my life.

Could an engineer look after or obey me?

Remember, dear, that you're my wife!"


As soon as Jimmy got a job, I studied hard again.

Then, busy at my turret-lathe a year or so, and then,

The morning that the twins were born, Jimmy says to them,

"Kids, your mother was an engineer."


You owe it to the kids to be a lady,

Dainty as a dishrag, faithful as a chow.

Stay at home; you got to mind the baby.

Remember, you're a mother now.


Every time I turn around there's something else to do-

Cook a meal or mend a sock or sweep a floor or two.

Listen in to Jimmy Young - it makes me want to spew!

I was gonna be an engineer!


I really wish that I could be a lady;

I could do the lovely things that a lady's s'posed to do.

I wouldn't even mind, if only they would pay me

And I could be a person too!


What price - for a woman? You can buy her for a ring of gold;

To love and obey (without any pay);

You get a cook and a nurse (for better or worse).

You don't need a purse when a lady is sold.


But now that times are harder and my Jimmy's got the sack,

I went down to Vickers. They were glad to have me back;

I'm a third-class citizen, my wages tell me that,

But I'm a first class engineer!


The boss, he says, "I pay you as a lady;

You only got the job 'cause I can't afford a man.

With you I keep the profits as high as may be;

You're just a cheaper pair of hands!"


You got one fault! You're a woman. You're not worth equal pay.

A bitch or a tart, you're nothing but heart;

Shallow and vain, you got no brain;

Go down the drain like a lady today!


I listened to my mother and I joined a typing pool;

I listened to my lover and I put him through his school;

If I listen to the boss, I'm just a bloody fool-

And an underpaid engineer!


I been a sucker ever since I was a baby,

As a daughter, as a lover, as a mother and a "dear,"

But I'll fight them as a woman, not a lady,

I'll fight them as an engineer.



Back to the Songbook Index.

This page's content is copyrighted ©1977-2009 by Kristin C. Hall. Please drop me a line (via "dink (at) media (dot) mit (dot) edu") if you wish to use it or link to it or correct it! Please send comments, suggestions, fixes and general mischievious mayhem to the web diva via the above email address. (sorry, spambots have forced me to remove my automatic mail link.) Many thanks...and enjoy!

Note to lawyers and any other litigious-minded folk:
I am not trying to screw anyone out of royalties, etc. I have posted these only as a helpful resources for teachers, camp counselors and people who like to "sing along with Mitch", if you will. If you do not want your work posted to these pages, please just email me (via "dink (at) media (dot) mit (dot) edu") and I shall remove it.