The additional challenges that women in STEM fields are widely acknowledged, but as someone who falls into that demographic, it’s not something I generally think about unless a) it’s relevant to a discussion, or b) I’m being actively reminded of it. This time, it was less blatant than being ignored or being told directly by a classmate that he’s not listening to me. However, having your own research project (incorrectly) explained to you by someone less experienced in the topic is another reminder that you’re not seen as the default. That we’ve all been taught that we aren’t as smart, or as capable.
Often, the small things like that are overlooked. They accumulate, and this actively hostile environment pushes women out of STEM fields. This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced something like this, and I know it won’t be the last. I think that this particular instance reminded me that my two identities as a science student and a woman aren’t separate, no matter how often I might think of them that way.