Women in STEM Part 1: Starting the Conversation

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By Kelly Martin

A little over a year ago, I went to a job interview that I was confident I was qualified for: my resume matched up almost perfectly with the “desired qualifications” listed in the job posting. However, right before I walked in to the interview, I had a moment of self-doubt and quickly pulled my long, blonde hair back into low bun. I had straightened my hair that morning to make it look more professional than my usual untidy waves did, but under the glare of the fluorescent lights of the waiting room I suddenly became self-conscious: I was concerned that this time I spent on my appearance would make me look too feminine, and therefore, I wouldn’t be taken seriously. But with skills and experience that certainly qualified me for the job, something as trivial as my appearance wouldn’t affect whether or not my interviewers thought I was qualified enough, right? Unfortunately, that’s not always the case: a 2016 study found that women with “feminine appearance” were perceived as less likely to be professional scientists.

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