The other night I attended my first NOW meeting. Being new to the group one of the facilitators asked me what I did. Trying to avoid a long, complex answer since I wear many hats, I said, "I do a couple of things. I'm a psychologist." The response to my holding that typically female profession was something like, "That's great." Then I said, "I also write Math Books." The response was "Seriously." Yes, seriously. I get this response alto. The incredulous looks on the faces of others when I say I write math books. Frequently I get a one word response, MATH? Like how could that be true. Did I misspeak? No I didn't. What I found particularly disturbing is the woman who said seriously works at a feminist think tank and is very active in my state NOW chapter. Now if she doesn't get it, who would get it?
As an undergraduate I was a biology and chemistry major. As an Freshman, people would repeatedly ask me what classes I was taking. I'd start to list them. "Biology for Majors, Calculus, Chemistry, Physics..." It was here that I was always interrupted. "Physics?" or "You mean Phys-ed." Seems like things haven't changed much in the decades since I graduated college. People still don't expect women to be good at science or math. How can I blame them when the former president of Harvard University didn't either.