I was sitting in on a meeting the other day and I noticed that there were only three women in a room of about thirty. One was manning the powerpoints. Four if you count me.
I mentioned this to one of the other women that was in the room later and she came back with “Three women huh? Well, what about how many African Americans?” And I didn’t know. “Also three.”
As a woman, it’s easy for me to notice when I’m outnumbered, when women are the minority. It’s partially because it happens all the time in my life, but also because it’s something that’s close to me. It’s so much harder for me to see other groups’ disadvantages in STEM fields because those are not problems that often affect me.
So we have this representation problem in science, where the percentage of scientists in a certain group doesn’t correspond to that group’s percentage of society. And I’m always aware of this problem with gender, but I need to be cognizant that that gap exists in other minority groups as well. Because when I’m better at recognizing the disparity, I can do my part to address that and rectify it.