You must be Z’s wife

Posted: October 30, 2010 by Jender in You can't be a professor/lecturer

I work in the philosophy of maths and science, which is a fairly male dominated environment. A few years ago I was, as is often the case, the only female invited speaker at a conference, and the youngest to boot. On the first morning I was having breakfast with some of the other speakers, and a speaker who I hadn’t yet met (an older mathematician) came and joined us at the table. He prided himself in going around the table and working out who everyone was: “You must be X; I really enjoyed your article on Y”. When he came to me he said, “And you must be Z’s wife.” (Z, who I was sat next to, was a scientist in his 60s.) Oh how we chuckled when I revealed his mistake.

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