At a traditional college in the UK, academic staff would dine together and wear academic gowns to dinner. One nice thing about this arrangement was that you would get to speak to researchers in subjects other than your own. This also meant that, initially, I’d be dining with people to whom I’d not yet been introduced. Upon entering the dining hall, the startled and bemused reaction of the (predominantly white, over 50, and male) academics indicated that they took it to be more likely that a student had inadvertently donned a gown and stumbled into dinner than that a young woman like myself might, just might, be a member of the academic staff.
Subsequent interactions ranged from open, friendly and welcoming (thankfully!), to frosty and patronising (humpf).