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Mistaken identity April 19, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, feminism, work.
Tags: ,

I had a meeting with some people I’d never met this morning.  I was going to be presenting some results of a study I’d done.  There weren’t too many seats available in the room, so I sat down at one end of the table that has a laptop.  One of the people was walking around and meeting everyone, and when she came up to me, she asked if I was there to operate the computer.  I looked at her very confused, and then realized she thought I was going to be the ‘designated clicker’ for the powerpoint presentation.  Before I had a chance to say anything, my supervisor jumped in with introductions.

Honestly, I think it gets harder every time I run into this misconception that I’m a secretary or something similar.  And it didn’t help later that most of the people involved in this meeting assumed that a project that I was running was actually something my husband was doing.  (Ever had someone talk to another person about your project as though it was theirs and you’re just standing there for the conversation?  Very strange.)

In the first case, the assumption was made by a woman, whereas in the second case, it was a man.  To be perfectly honest, I was more hurt by the woman’s assumption because I would think that someone who also has a background as a scientist would be more careful about making that assumption than a man.  Guess not.

I really do fantasize about these things not happening because they still seem to happen far more often than I like…that is, they still happen at all.



1. Engineering a fashion sense | Engineer Blogs - April 12, 2012

[…] I’ve tried to upgrade to wearing more professional clothes, I am assumed to be a secretary, except when I went to a conference recently.  At the conference, I was a grad student […]


2. Sophi Kravitz - April 13, 2012

I’m really sorry this happened to you. This happens to me all the time and it is so insulting! It makes me so angry!


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