I’m a Senior undergraduate in Electrical Engineering so I am surrounded by men who think they know more than me. I was having a debate in a common computer lab about whether or not to include some data in a paper my group was finalizing. We were split down the middle and the split happened to be the two female group members against the two male group members. I thought the data was unnecessary but wouldn’t harm the paper, while the two males in the opposing group were quite adamant that they thought it belonged.
The argument was polite, if a little high spirited, and based around the actual merit of the data. Eventually realizing that the paper was still a rough draft and we could take it out if our adviser thought it didn’t work I said that I would back down on the condition that we asked our adviser about it at the next meeting.
Behind us, I hear a cheerful male voice laughing and informing me that “This is hilarious. Of course you would back down. You’re a woman.” It was a freshman, who had no idea about what we were talking about, but felt the need to chime in anyways. Yes, my gender is what drives all my decisions not the fact that there were more important things to go over in the meeting than something small that could be easily changed back if it didn’t work.