My A-Level maths class is 80% male, the teacher is an older/middle aged male, he made sexist ‘jokes’ every lesson, about how women were stupid, or talked too much. I was working up the courage to confront him, when one lesson he pointed out that I apparently glared at him every time he made a sexist comment. I wasn’t aware I was doing this. He pointed out that I didn’t find this amusing, and paused like he was waiting for me to explain why. I couldn’t find a way to explain something that obvious in a way that wouldn’t get me expelled. The boys all started laughing.
After this, I considered approaching sixth form management about it, but the very next day, the people we are all supposed to to turn to if we have a problem, declared that there would be a female-only dress code assembly. This angered, annoyed, and terrified everyone, but there’s no one we can go to about it. It was exactly what we’d expected. “Pull your skirt down, the fact that you;re treated like an object and not a person is inconveniencing us.”
I’m hoping to study engineering, and I’m perfectly okay with any gender or sex, unless they cause the problem. So the fact that there are far more males than females are engineering events is annoying, but does not affect the way I live my life. But when the Dean of a university I went to a three day course on stood up at the end and said “Look at all these girls.” we all stared at him, refusing to respond to or applaud anything he said. The ratio of the group was 51% female, exactly as it should be, progress is perfect, being surprised by progress says you weren’t trying for it. Perhaps he could have mentioned the things we’d done, the things we’d learnt, the fact that this residential course was our first taste of university, the fact that he was trying to convince us to go to his university. But no, the shock of the mythical female in STEM must have completely fried his brain.