STEM

Aleya

I’m in a computer programming class right now and I go in to get help from my TA pretty often since I find the projects difficult and I’m new to coding. Throughout the semester my TA has made me feel more and more uncomfortable. For instance, once he asked me what I did over the weekend and after I responded he then asked, “no boyfriend?”. I then said that I had hung out with my boyfriend too, but I felt it out of place for him since not only is he my TA and should be keeping a professional environment, he’s also considerably older than me. I sometimes wear a ring on my left ring finger and he’s said that when he first saw me he thought that I was married because of this to which I responded that no, I’m 18. A couple weeks ago he asked for my number so that we could better communicate on the projects and availability, which I grudgingly agreed to as I already had his email. This last week he texted me “Can I ask you a question”, to which I replied sure” and then he said “what will you do if you like a person but you don’t know if that person think about you or not? :)”. I said “I don’t know, I’m kinda bad at that, somehow got a boyfriend though”. I don’t know if he’s selectively hearing things, is a creep, or just doesn’t speak English that well (he’s from Vietnam). Either way he makes me feel very uncomfortable and I still have to go in for help with projects because I still need help and I don’t know if I could ask to be switched to a different lab at this point in the semester or if I could even go in for help with the other TAs since they have different availability’s and my TAs availability works the best for me. I just hope he gets the point now and just helps me with my projects instead of creeping me out.

Stacy

When your boss wants you to learn a new system and tells you to ask [insert male coworker name here] to show you how to do something and male coworker proceeds to tell you that it’s too technical for you to understand and he’ll just do it himself. -_-

Katie

On a current project for work, where my technical skills are constantly called into question, if assumed at all. I’m a young professional and a new hire to a consultancy, so I’m eager to learn and constantly looking for ways to stay engaged. I’ve gotten great feedback, but I can’t help but feel that it’s just to keep me happy, because they know they’re screwing me over by not giving me actual work.

Beth

According to Microsoft Viso, women are not people. I use this tool to draw IT diagrams and wanted pictures of people. I did a search for “People” and got pictures of white men. I did a search for “Women” and got signs for toilet doors. I did a search for “Men” and got signs for toilet doors…. and the pictures of people, who are all white men.

Abby

An engineering group from my dorm booked a workout class at the recreation center, but when we arrived there was no teacher. When we consulted the management about this, they repeatedly told us that we could not possibly be the group that had booked the room because we were all female.

Emma

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.

Liz

I’m just finding it really demoralising watching Robot wars and many other science based shows and seeing A) very little women at all and B) any contributions made by women are minimised If there are any women on a robotics team their contributions seem to be limited to “Aesthetics Co sultant” or “Tea maker”. As a women in Stem it’s killing me to see this in one of my favorite programs.

Caitlin

I am studying for a Maths degree. When I tell people this, I’m often asked ‘Ahh, so what do you want to be, a teacher?’… No. NO I DON’T WANT TO BE A TEACHER. Do people ask me this because I’m female? Do they ask male maths students if they want to go into teaching, or do they ask them if they want to go into finance/engineering/further study etc? A female friend on my course said that she also regularly gets this response. I’m currently on a placement, working in finance, and even people at work have asked if I want to go into teaching. Does the fact that I’m doing a financial placement not give a clue that no, I do not want to go into teaching? I generally pull my face and say ‘definitely not’, then tell them what field of work I would actually be interested in. In my head I’m rolling my eyes at them. I know it isn’t deliberate sexism, but it still drives me crazy.

Aoife

Last week at an interview for a technology company in Dublin, Ireland, I was asked if I was married, if I had children, and how I would feel working in a “male dominated workplace”. I am 26. How many 26 year old men are asked their marital status and if they have/plan on having children?