This is a subject that has been discussed ad nauseam both off- and online, but it's also something that I have been struggling with lately which is why I decided to add one more post to the exhausting body of literature on this: how to make sure that people at work take me seriously? How to make sure people don't assume I'm an intern and don't sound surprised when I say something intelligent?
Thinking about this, I don't even really know if this problem is mostly in my head (I'm female, I tend to look younger than my age, and I tend to be enthusiastic and joke around every now and then) or that people around me actually either on a conscious or unconscious level believe that it makes more sense for a man to be a scientist and say credible things. Probably a bit of both. And for some reason being in a new environment, where I spend a large part of my day in meetings with people instead of behind my slice rig or in the animal facility, makes me (much) more aware of these feelings.
The next question is: what to do about this? With the start of my new job I have upgraded my post-doc uniform to a bunch of professional looking outfits that are in line with what other people in the company wear. I speak up when I have something to say and network with people. Is this the company culture where when the CEO says something about a quota for women in the company everybody laughs*?
So, is this in my head? Do other people struggle with this**? And what can I do about this?
* well, not everybody: another new woman-scientist and I were looking at each other wondering what was so funny about this.
** I guess I already know the answer to this, because both my IRL women friends and colleagues do, and so do the tons of hits when I google this...